Its Official Sergio Goes with TaylorMade-adidas

By Adam BarrOctober 9, 2002, 4:00 pm
The latest:
SERGIO GOES TMaG: As expected, Sergio Garcia has left Titleist to join the tour staff of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. The parties arent talking about the terms, but sources say the deal is worth $7 million per year over five years.
For that, TMaG gets the 22-year-old Spaniard head-to-toe. Garcia has been wearing adidas apparel and shoes since he turned pro in 1999. Now hell also wear adidas headgear, and hell play TaylorMade clubs and a Maxfli golf ball. (TaylorMade completed its purchase of Maxfli this year.)
'When we looked at who would be the 'perfect global icon,' as the marketing types like to say, the guy who stood out was Sergio, said Mark King, TMaGs president and CEO. Hes young, passionate, and he wants to be No. 1.'
Sergios not wasting any time trying to please the new boss. King and adidas officials were in Paris Oct. 9 to sign the new deal at the European Tours Trophee Lancome event, and Garcia showed up with 11 TMaG clubs in his bag. Hes using the 580 driver, largest in the new 500 line, as well as 300 Series forged irons up through the 5-iron. For 6-iron and shorter, Garcia is using the RAC Muscleback clubs, which North American consumers havent seen yet. There is a RAC wedge series out, but the irons wont available in the U.S. until January.
Over the past few weeks, the Garcia deal was half of a secret it seems everyone knew. As Garcia jumps over from Titleist, longtime TaylorMade endorser Ernie Els will go over to Titleist for club and bag (he has already been a Titleist golf ball endorser for some time) in a switch that has all the earmarks of a baseball-style trade. (For more analysis, see Barr on Business for October 4.) Each company has its separate goals with respect to endorsement staff dynamics and salary cap room. But the bottom-line reason for all the late-season endorsement positioning is marketing. The stakes get higher in the premium segment of the equipment market, which is weathering a tough economy.
But how do you measure the return on investment on the kind of expenditure TMaG will have to lay out for Garcia?
'There are ways ' surveys of articles, TV time, how many impressions people see, King said. But from the intuitive standpoint, you have to go with the notion that this guy is going to be good for the company. You trust in the momentum ' mom and momentum will translate into sales.'
DYNA, BLOW YOUR HORN: Dyna-Powered wedges built by Wilson Golf in the 1950s and 1960s can still be found in a lot of bags. Wilson has never abandoned the seasoned trademark, and now plans five new members of that illustrious family.
WilsonThe latest models include a gap wedge (52 degrees of loft and 3 degrees of bounce), two sand wedges (54 loft / 8 bounce and 56 loft / 10 bounce), and a pair of lob wedges (58 loft / 6 bounce and 60 loft / 3 bounce). Theyll be available this month at a suggested retail price of $130 each.
KEEPING UP WITH ONE OF THE JONESES: If the rich indeed get richer, then golf-heavy Charleston, S.C. is about the levitate near a new tax bracket.
Noted architect Rees Jones will design a new course on Daniel Island, a 4,000-acre, upscale real estate development on an island within the Charleston city limits. The island already features a Tom Fazio design.
Jones promises multiple shot options, but good players had better bring the A game. Jones is well known for his work as the Open Doctor, remodeling courses for U.S. Opens and other big events. Among courses on that list are Bethpage Black, site of this years U.S. Open; Hazeltine National, where Rich Beem won the PGA Championship; and East Lake Golf Club, a veteran site of the PGA Tour Championship.
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Kerr blows big lead, heads into Kia Sunday one back

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr blew a five-stroke lead Saturday in the Kia Classic to set up a final-round showdown at Aviara Golf Club.

A day after shooting an 8-under 64 to open the big lead, Kerr had a 75 to drop a stroke behind playing partner Lizette Salas, Eun-Hee Ji and In-Kyung Kim. Kerr was tied with Caroline Hedwall, Wei-Ling Hsu and Cindy LaCrosse, and four players were another shot back.

The 40-year-old Kerr had a double bogey on the par-4 15th after snap-hooking a drive into the trees. The 2015 winner at Aviara, she also had two bogeys and two birdies.

Ji had a 67 to match Salas (69) and Kim (69) at 11-under 205. Salas had a chance to pull away, but missed birdie putts of 1 1/2 feet on the short par-4 16th and 2 1/2 feet on the par-5 17th.

Anna Nordqvist had a 66 to top the group at 9 under.

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Match Play Final Four set to bring the excitement

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:55 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Sunday’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play will include a pair of Georgia Bulldogs, a two-and-done phenom from Alabama and a Swede from Stockholm via Stillwater, that would be Oklahoma.

Just like that other tournament, right?

Actually, for all the volatility in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it’s not even in the same league as this year’s Match Play, where just a single player who began the week seeded inside the top 10 is still playing.

But what the event may lack in star power it’s certainly made up for with stellar performances, starting with Justin Thomas who is the PGA Tour’s most avid Alabama fan and the tournament’s second-seeded player.

After not losing a match in three days of pool play, Thomas again cruised through his morning Round-of-16 bout with Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5; but found himself in an unfamiliar position early in his quarterfinal match against Kyle Stanley.

Having not trailed during any point in his matches this week, Thomas bogeyed the second hole to fall behind.

“I was hoping to never trail this whole week. I thought that was unbelievable that [2017 champion Dustin Johnson] did it last year,” Thomas said. “I'm going out there this afternoon, and I was like, ‘Man, I have got a chance of doing this, too.’ Then I missed a 3-footer on 2 and shot that out the window.”

The world’s second-ranked player was nearly perfect the rest of the way, regaining the lead with three birdies in four holes starting at No. 5 and closing Stanley out with a bogey-free finish.

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It’s all part of an impressive turnaround for Thomas, who had been slowed in recent weeks by dental surgery followed by a bout with the flu, which nearly prompted him to miss the Match Play.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” said Thomas, who can unseat Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking if he advances to the championship match. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

His improved health has dovetailed with his increasingly better play at Austin Country Club and he’s now two matches away from winning his first World Golf Championship.

Like the NCAA tournament, however, being one of the last four standing only means more work, and Thomas will have plenty to keep him busy when he sets out early Sunday in a semifinal match against Bubba Watson.

Although Watson hasn’t been as dominant as Thomas, his ability to overpower any course, any time, has been evident this week following victories over Brian Harman, 2 and 1, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 5 and 3, on his way to the Final Four.

“When you're hitting an 8-iron and another guy is hitting a 7- or another guy is hitting a 6-iron, obviously that's going to change everything,” said Watson, who played his college golf at Georgia. “It's like LeBron James, when he jumps, he jumps higher than I do, so it's an advantage. When you're hitting the driver good and those guys you're naming, they're known for hitting the driver pretty well, just like Thomas is doing right now, he's been hammering it. Anytime that you're hitting the driver somewhat straight, it's an advantage.”

But if Bubba is a familiar foe for Thomas, he may want to do a quick Google search to fill in the blanks on one of his potential final opponents.

While Alex Noren is still a relatively unknown player to many American fans (and that’s certain to change in September at the Ryder Cup), it’s only because they haven’t been paying attention. The Swede, who attended Oklahoma State, has been dominant this week, sweeping the group stage followed by a 5-and-3 victory over Patrick Reed in the Sweet 16 and a 4-and-2 triumph over Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

“I've always liked match play because the outcome is quite direct,” said Noren, who will face Kevin Kisner in the semifinals. “In match play, you've just got to be really focused all the time and anything can happen. And then you have to play good each round. You can't just give up a round and then think you've got three more.”

But if a JT vs. Noren final would be the perfect Ryder Cup primer, the dream match up for Thomas in the championship tilt might be Kisner.

Kisner lost a friendly wager to Thomas earlier this year at the Sony Open when Alabama defeated Georgia in the NCAA National Championship football game and he had to wear an Alabama jersey while he played the 17th hole on Thursday.

Kisner would certainly appreciate the chance at a mulligan. And the way the duo have been rolling in birdie putts this week, it has the potential to be just as entertaining as that other tournament.

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Up one, Stricker hunting second Champions title

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 11:48 pm

BILOXI, Miss. - Steve Stricker moved into position for his second straight PGA Tour Champions victory, shooting a 3-under 69 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Stricker won the Cologuard Classic three weeks ago in Tucson, Arizona, for his first victory on the 50-and-over tour. He tied for 12th the following week in the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

Stricker had a 7-under 137 total at Fallen Oak, the Tom Fazio-designed layout with big, speedy greens.

The 51-year-old Wisconsin player bogeyed Nos. 2-3, rebounded with birdies on Nos. 6-7, birdied the par-4 12th and eagled the par-5 13th. He has six top-three finishes in eight career senior starts.

First-round leader Joe Durant followed his opening 66 with a 72 to drop into a tie for second with Jeff Sluman (67).

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Thomas can take world No. 1 with win over Watson

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”