Is a Cold Wind Blowing Through the Golf Industry

By Adam BarrJuly 31, 2001, 4:00 pm
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WORRY AT THE COMMAND POST: Usually, we hear rumblings of golf industry discontent first from the trenches, the golf retail stores. And although retailers would always be happy if they were selling more, lately its the execs at the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who are furrowing their brows in unison.
No one wanted to be quoted on the record about this, but theres a lot of worry about how 2001 will turn out. Some say it could be as bad as 1998, when even the biggest companies had to batten down their hatches and readjust earnings forecasts downward.
The numbers dont tell a clear story. Rounds played, long accepted as the primary driver of golf ball sales, have been down more than 5 percent year-to-date versus 2000, says Golf Datatech, the Kissimmee, Florida-based industry measurement company. In May alone, rounds were down 1.8 percent, and in at least two months this year, the numbers were down in all 15 regions of the United States that Datatech measures.
Yet golf ball sales are better in 2001 than they were a year ago, both in dozens sold and dollars. In May, for example, 2.5 million dozen balls moved, said Datatech, a 2.9 percent jump from May 2000. Dollar sales were up 6 percent to $65.1 million.
Whats with the goofy numbers? Theories abound. Some say the rounds numbers are a result of trashy weather this spring; others say the golf industry is too quick to blame the weather, and that a claim of weather woes is safe because its hard to dispute. There is also the possibility that the rounds numbers are accurate, but some other force is artificially driving ball sales: Casual experimentation may be leading consumers to try Pro V1s, CBs and MC Ladies.
If those dire theories are true, the product pipeline is overfilled in many segments, and there wont be enough retail sales to empty it out in time for strong wholesale activity in the second half of the year. Private comments from industry leaders indicate expectations of storm clouds on the sales horizon.
There have been some bright spots: Adams Golf had a good second quarter, with sales of more than $18.7 million, a 51 percent increase over the second quarter of 2000. But the company is still in the red, although not so deeply. And Callaway Golf had a record first half, with sales jumping 6 percent to $515 million. But the second quarter numbers were down; sales were just under $254 million, a 13 percent decrease from the $290 million in sales for the second quarter of 2000.
Seen from one point of view, every cloud seems to have a black lining, at least for now. Caution is in the cold wind, and if anything is selling well, its probably nails ' for battening down hatches.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”