Callaway Dead at Age 82


Ely Callaway, founder of the Callaway Golf Co., died early Thursday morning at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
His cause of death was pancreatic cancer. He was 82 years-old.
'Ely passed away quietly at his home at about 2:30 a.m. while being attended by his family, a few close friends and medical staff,' said spokesman Larry Dorman.
Free Video - Registration Required Ely Callaway Dies at Age 82
Doctors discovered a tumor on Callaways pancreas two months ago during a surgery to remove his gall bladder. He resinged as president and chief executive officer May 15.
Ron Drapeau was named Callaway's successor.
Callaway was hospitalized for six weeks before finally being released June 4. He had been resting at home ever since.
Ely Callaway at the podiumRevolutionizing the game of golf was just part of Callway's very successful professional life.
Born June 3, 1919 in LaGrange, Ga., Callaway graduated from Emory University in 1940. He joined the U.S. Army at the age of 21, where he was assigned to the Armys Centralized Procurement Agency for textiles and clothing at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot.
He served in that post through the end of World War II, then accepted a sales position with a textile firm, now known as Milliken & Co.
Callaway soon moved to Burlington Industries, Inc., then the worlds largest textile company. By 1968, he was president and director of the company.
In the mid-1970s, Callaway turned his attention to the entrepreneurial business. He founded Callaway Vineyard and Winery in Southern California in 1974 and grew the company for nine years.
He then entered the world of golf.
Free Video - Registration Required Ely Callaway's Impact on the golf world
Callaway first made his mark in the game in 1982, when he purchased a small equipment company called Hickory Stick USA for $400,000.
It was not long thereafter, however, that he began refashioning not only the company, but the entire industry, becoming the games technological ' and sometimes controversial ' leader with regard to equipment.
In the late 80s, the S2H2 was Callaways premier product, which was a driver that featured a revolutionary bore-through shaft design, the first-ever of its kind.
That club ultimately led to the creation of Callaways most famed product, The Big Bertha, which was the first oversized driver to hit the market in 1991.
Callaway would next delve into irons and eventually into the golf ball business.
All ventures found great and immediate success. In fact, Callaway's sales skyrocketed from approximately $5 million in '88 to $800 million in '98.
The companys latest controversial product came in the form of the ERC II driver, which was deemed illegal and subsequently banned by the United States Golf Association because of the spring-like effect it imparted to the golf ball through its thin face.
Free Video - Registration Required Ely Callaway Introduces the ERC II Driver
Ely Callaway and the USGA's David Fay debate over the ERC II
Callaway was bold, but never brash. Throughout the hype and hoopla created by his creations, Ely always maintained he was just trying to make the game a little easier for the consumer.
Weve sold $5 billion in golf clubs since Callaway started from nothing, which is far more than anybody in the world has ever done, he said in January. And we want to keep on making clubs that are going to make people happier.
Callaway is survived by his wife, Lucinda Villa; a sister, Lula Callaway Albright; three children, Reeves, Lisa and Nicholas; and four grandchildren.
Free Video - Registration Required Players react to the loss of Ely Callaway
Barr on Business: 'Goodbye, Mr. Callaway'