Ink flows, money changes hands, and logo embroiderers get to work:
NIKE SIGNS PARK: LPGA sensation Grace Park has signed a comprehensive, multi-year equipment deal with Nike Golf. Shell play Nikes Pro Combo irons, as well as a driver, one fairway wood, and three drivers, all from Nike. She will also play the TA2 SPN, a mid-trajectory ball. She will also showcase Nikes womens golf apparel line.
Park and Nike engineers and designers decided what should be in her bag during a recent four-day visit to Nikes development facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
As important as her signing will be for Nike Golfs appeal to women, it will be even more compelling in the Korean market, where Park is a national sports hero at the tender age of 23. Shell show off her newly swooshed game and self at the LPGAs season opening event, the Welchs/Frys Championship, March 13-16 in Tucson, Ariz.
WALRUS ALERT: As he prepares to sharpen his tusks on the Champions Tour, PGA Tour veteran Craig Stadler has signed an equipment deal with Tommy Armour Golf. The Walrus will play Tommy Armours 845 irons in his waning months on the regular circuit, then on the Champions Tour beginning in June.
Stadler, winner of the 1982 Masters and 12 PGA Tour events, may resonate well with golfers who still revere the original 845 irons. Some of those players are likely to be Champions Tour watchers, so this may be a sly marketing move by Huffy Corp., owner of the Tommy Armour brand.
LEHMAN RE-UPS WITH TMaG: Five-time PGA Tour winner Tom Lehman has renewed his equipment deal with TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Lehman, who has been allied with TaylorMade since 1996, won the 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
FINE TUNING: Just as example of how Tour players are willing to micro-tweak their gear week to week: Word from the range at the Tucson PGA Tour event is that Fulton Allem and Jim Carter both had the soles of their Callaway Golf X-16 irons reshaped to work better on the hard ground in the desert. Also, Ty Tryon felt he needed a bit more lift, so hell be using a 9.5-degree loft Great Big Bertha II driver at Tucson this week instead of his usual 8.5-degree model.
CLOSING THOUGHT: Can we have a playoff like Weir vs. Howell every week? Even every other week?