PAIRINGS AND DOLLARS: While the captains are laboring over initial pairings at the Ryder Cup, the organizers are getting ready to divide the spoils.
Even with the year delay, it looks as if the 34th Ryder Cup Matches will yield a substantial take for its sponsors. Gross receipts are expected to be around 35 million (about $54 million), with a profit of about 9 million ($14 million) for the PGA European Tour and European players associations, says The Times of London, one of Britains leading newspapers. (Compare that to the $16 million profit said to have come to the PGA of America from the 1999 event in Brookline, Mass.)
European golf authorities recently agreed to reorganize the distribution of Ryder Cup monies, The Times reports. The European Tour gets about two-thirds, and the PGA of Europe gets 20 percent. To allow for those checks, the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland will see its share drop from 50 percent to 20 percent.
For the Birmingham area, the event will generate about 250 million ($390 million), said an official of the DeVere Group, owner of The Belfry. DeVere spent 500,000 ($780,000) marketing the Ryder Cup for its intended date, and another 350,000 ($546,000) after the delay caused by September 11.
Another item expected to cut into profits is security, the cost of which has jumped 400 percent over the last year, reported Londons Financial Times.
About 180,000 fans are expected at The Belfry during the week.
TICKET TO RYDER: Golf companies from the apparel side to the equipment manufacturers all know this is a showcase week for the game, so they want their products close to the action. Same goes for golf cart makers. Club Car, the Augusta, Ga., company that divides most of the worlds cart market with cross-town competitor E-Z-GO, has sent 150 vehicles to The Belfry for use by both teams, as well as media, grounds staff, security and others who need wheels to get around.
Club Car has carts on courses in 132 countries, but the Ryder exposure will help broaden its foothold in Europe, the company says.
Oh, and captains Curtis Strange and Sam Torrance get to keep their carts after the competition. Now, thats a different way to pick up the groceries.
MORE GREEN BEING SPENT ON GREENS?: Probably the folks at United Turf Industries, makers of SofTrak artificial putting greens, gaze out of airplane windows and wish they could pick out one of their products next to all the backyard swimming pools they see. The way things are going, that day may be getting closer.
UTI, based in Wichita, Kan., reports it has increased its dealerships by 400 percent ' thats 13 this year, compared to just three in 2001. There are 60 SofTrak dealers worldwide, mostly in North America, but also in Puerto Rico, Taiwan and South Korea.
SofTrak greens have a special softer, denser synthetic fiber that closely matches the behavior of real turf, says UTI.