See Here Colorfully
His business card says hes the founder and CEO of PeakVision Sports, the Overland Park, Kan., company that makes sport sunglasses and has recently entered the golf market. And while thats true enough, Moore clearly gets more excited by light density, glare reduction and color than all that dull balance sheet and income statement stuff.
Amber certainly enhances your visualization of greens, and thats nothing new, Moore said.
Oh yeah? Its a new one on me, and probably plenty of other people who used to just slap on any pair of sunglasses they could get their hands on. Turns out color, polarization, and their effects on your vision can make a big difference in how you play. Moore, whose background is in optics and health care (he licensed a yellow-enhancing lens to tennis power Bolle, and now even linesmen use it), thinks its time he colored golfs world.
Thanks to better consciousness of eye care and advancing technology, sports sunglass sales have been rising steadily, says the Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association International. Wholesale sales were about $420 million worldwide in 1998, but they expanded to more than $600 million in 2003, the last year for which data was collected. Oakley, Sundog and other brands have staked out significant golf territories, all seeking to satisfy the need for a cool look and the necessity of enhanced ultraviolet protection. (Golfers and tennis players have almost twice the incidence of UV-related eye disorders as the rest of the population, Moore says.)
Moore is fully aware that the market already serves golfers. But they dont do it to his satisfaction. Interchangeable lenses are a particular pet peeve of his.
Interchangeable lens glasses usually come with one set of grey lenses and one set of amber, Moore says. Grey helps with glare reduction, and of course amber is good on greens. But nobodys gonna change lenses from the tee to the green. Any one filter is going to compromise one of the visual goals.
Moores solution was two filters in one lens, which led to PeakVisions dual-zone technology. Gray up top, amber below, with a smooth transition between the two. Its not a bifocal look.
What many golfers might find most educational is Moores view on polarized glass.
Its really been overhyped, Moore says. Golfers really dont need it as much as they think, because golf is such a vision-critical sport and polarization can interfere with depth perception. That is, an 18-footer can look like a 21-footer. The impending frustration needs no elaboration. Moore didn't include polarization in PeakVision lenses>
It all depends on your sport or activity, Moore said. Pilots want polarization up top, but on the bottom of their lenses, it makes the instruments and gauges too hard to read. But sailors want the reverse: polarized down low, to see what the water is doing and anticipate changes in the wind.
Among the pros who have tried the golf glass are Bruce Fleisher, Scott McCarron, and Billy Andrade. Andrade has said that the dual zone approach helped rid him of headaches and improved his putting. McCarron agreed.
One benefit iswell, its hard to be comfortable when youre squinting all the time, McCarron said. These sunglasses let your eyes open up more, so you can see a little bit better. They help read greens and improve your depth perception.
PeakVision has golf and baseball models available, and skiing and other sports will make the product list soon. Meanwhile, Moore is spreading the word about his manufacturing process, which involves a 20-hour curing time but yields a very strong lens that resists optical performance changes when the weather shifts.
THE NEW GUY: Imagine being in a new job for four days and someone offers to buy the company. Someone else, that is.
So it was for George Fellows, Callaway Golfs new CEO, who took the reins August 1 as the winner in an extensive search for the successor to William Baker. (Baker, an old friend of founder Ely Callaway, served after the August 2004 departure of Ron Drapeau, and will remain on the board.)
News of a possible cash offer for Callaway by Boston capital group Thomas H. Lee Partners and insurance company Fidelity National Financial Inc. in late May lifted Callaway stock out of the $11-per-share echelon up to around $15, where it has been cruising along since. But Monday, Bain Capital, another Boston group, and MacGregor Golf came in with another cash bid, this time a little higher at $16.25 per share. (Formal offers have not been tendered yet, and the parties declined comment in accordance with securities regulations, according to the Los Angeles Times and responses to Golf Channel inquiries.)
The board is handling its responsibilities with regard to those inquiries. But here inside Callaway, all of that conjecture frankly is viewed as sort of idle diversion and doesnt come to the heart of the matter, said Fellows by phone from Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. My charge from the board of directors of this company is to fix whats not working, to return us to the level of profitability weve become used to, and to regain some of the share thats eroded, especially in metalwoods.
Callaway, once the industry leader in metalwoods, is now second to TaylorMade-adidas Golf by eight points. Although Fellows experience isnt in the golf industry, Callaway is banking on his extensive resume in consumer products (Mennen, Playtex, Revlon, and a substantial consulting career) to reconnect Callaway to its consumer.
The key to any consumer products business is obviously getting very close to your consumer, said Fellows in a tone of confidence that is said to be his hallmark. I think we need to improve our research and stay out ahead of them and develop products ahead of the curve instead of following the curve. We often set the curve, but we want to anticipate the way technology is going and the mindset of consumers.
Not that everything needs to be fixed. Two big capital groups wouldnt be sniffing around Callaway if the brand werent still strong. And when we say big, we mean pretty large: Bain recently worked on a bid to buy the National Hockey League for more than $1 billion.
Callaway is really geared to being an innovator, Fellows said, discussing the brands vigor. If you take a look at the last 10 years of the industry, weve brought most of the news to the table. Marketing execution and supply chain satisfaction are high on Fellows list of things to work on, however. The company (and its not the only one) has at times run into problems satisfying demand even when distribution is running well: that is, they have had the industrys best problem, which happens when so many people want your clubs that you cant put them together and box them up fast enough to be consistent with your own quality standards.
Thats not acceptable at the end of the day. Were in the business of fulfilling retailer and consumer requirements, Fellows said. And thats what were going to do.
As for lack of golf industry experience, consider the careers of two other people who didnt have it: Ely Callaway and Karsten Solheim.
ANOTHER NEW GUY. Astute readers and viewers will have noticed by now that Ive got a partner. Casey Bierer, an experienced hand on the other side of the camera, has joined TGC as our second-ever dedicated golf business and equipment reporter. He made his Golf Central debut on July 12, and his note on PeakVision in this space last week, which spawned the above treatment, was part of his maiden column on TheGolfChannel.com. You can count on us double-teaming both the TV side and this site week in, week out. You can contact Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lopez fires flawless 63 for lead in Arkansas
ROGERS, Ark. – Since its first year on the LPGA Tour in 2007, the crowds at the NW Arkansas Championship have belonged to Stacy Lewis.
Another former University of Arkansas star staked her claim as the hometown favorite Friday when Gaby Lopez shot a career-low 8-under 63 to take the first-round lead at Pinnacle Country Club.
Like Lewis, the two-time winner of the tournament, Lopez starred as a three-time All-American for the Razorbacks before joining the LPGA Tour in 2016. Despite flashes of potential, Lopez had yet to join Lewis among the ranks of the world's best - missing the cut in her last two tournaments and entering this week ranked 136th in the world.
For a day, at least, the Mexican standout felt right at home atop the leaderboard in her adopted home state.
''I feel like home,'' Lopez said. ''I feel so, so comfortable out here, because I feel that everyone and every single person out here is just rooting for us.''
Moriya Jutanugarn was a stroke back along with Minjee Lee, Catriona Matthew, Nasa Hataoka, Lizette Salas, Mirim Lee and Aditi Ashok. Six others finished at 6 under on a day when only 26 of the 144 players finished over par, thanks to some mid-week rain that softened the greens and calm skies throughout the day.
Jutanugarn finished second at the tournament last year and is trying to win for the second time on the LPGA Tour this year. Her younger sister, Ariya, is already a two-time winner this year and shot an opening-round 66.
Lewis, the former world No. 1 who won the event in 2007 in 2014, finished with a 66. She's expecting her first child in early November
Defending champion So Yeon Ryu, coming off a victory Sunday in Michigan, shot a 67.
Friday was Lopez's long-awaited day to standout, though, much to the delight of the pro-Arkansas crowd.
After missing the cut her last two times out, Lopez took some time off and returned home to Mexico City to rest her mind and work on her game. The work paid off with two straight birdies to open her round and a 6-under 30 on her front nine.
Lopez needed only 25 putts and finished two shots off the course record of 61, and she overcame a poor drive on the par-5 18th to finish with a par and keep her place at the top of the leaderboard. Her previous low score was a 64 last year, and she matched her career best by finishing at 8 under.
''(Rest) is a key that no one really truly understands until you're out here,'' Lopez said. ''... Sometimes resting is actually the part you've got to work on.''
Harman rides hot putter to Travelers lead
CROMWELL, Conn. – There are plenty of big names gathered for the Travelers Championship, and through two rounds they’re all chasing Brian Harman.
Harman opened with a 6-under 64, then carded a 66 during Friday’s morning wave to become the only player to finish the first two rounds in double digits under par. The southpaw is currently riding a hot putter, leading the field in strokes gained: putting while rolling in 12 birdies and an eagle through his first 36 holes.
“Putted great today,” said Harman, who ranks 22nd on Tour this season in putting. “Got out of position a couple of times, but I was able to get myself good looks at it. I started hitting the ball really well coming down the stretch and made a few birdies.”
Harman, 31, has won twice on the PGA Tour, most recently at last year’s Wells Fargo Championship. While he doesn’t have a win this year, he started his season in the fall by reeling off five straight finishes of T-8 or better to quickly install himself as one of the leaders in the season-long points race.
Now topping a leaderboard that includes the likes of Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy, he realizes that he’ll have his work cut out for him if he’s going to leave Connecticut with trophy No. 3.
“The putter has been really good so far, but I’ve been in position a lot. I’ve had a lot of good looks at it,” Harman said. “I’m just able to put a little pressure on the course right now, which is nice.”
10-second rule costs Zach Johnson a stroke
CROMWELL, Conn. – Zach Johnson heads into the weekend one shot back at the Travelers Championship, but he was a matter of seconds away from being tied for the lead.
Johnson had an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 3 at TPC River Highlands, his 12th hole of the day, but left the ball hanging on the lip. As Johnson walked up to tap the ball in, it oscillated on the edge and eventually fell in without being hit.
Was it a birdie, or a par?
According to the Rules of Golf, and much to Johnson’s chagrin, the answer was a par. Players are afforded “reasonable” time to walk to the hole, and after that they are allowed to wait for 10 seconds to see if the ball drops of its own accord. After that, it either becomes holed by a player’s stroke, or falls in and leads to a one-shot penalty, resulting in the same score as if the player had hit it.
According to Mark Russell, PGA Tour vice president of rules and competitions, Johnson’s wait time until the ball fell in was between 16 and 18 seconds.
“Once he putts the ball, he’s got a reasonable amount of time to reach the hole,” Russell said. “Then once he reaches the hole, he’s got 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, the ball is deemed to be at rest.”
Johnson tried to emphasize the fact that the ball was oscillating as he stood over it, and even asked rules officials if marking his ball on the edge of the hole would have yielded a “bonus 10 seconds.” But after signing for a 2-under 68 that brought him within a shot of leader Brian Harman, the veteran took the ruling in stride.
“The 10-second rule has always been there. Vague to some degree,” Johnson said. “The bottom line is I went to tap it in after 10 seconds and the ball was moving. At that point, even if the ball is moving, it’s deemed to be at rest because it’s on the lip. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just the way it is.”
While Johnson brushed off any thoughts of the golf gods conspiring against him on the lip, he was beaming with pride about an unconventional par he made on No. 17 en route to a bogey-free round. Johnson sailed his tee shot well right into the water, but after consulting his options he decided to drop on the far side of the hazard near the 16th tee box.
His subsequent approach from 234 yards rolled to within 8 feet, and he calmly drained the putt for an unexpected save.
“I got a great lie. Just opened up a 4-hybrid, and it started over the grandstands and drew in there,” Johnson said. “That’s as good of an up-and-down as I’ve witnessed, or performed.”
Travelers becoming marquee event for star players
CROMWELL, Conn. – Get lost in the throngs following the defending champ, or caught up amongst the crowds chasing the back-to-back U.S. Open winner, and it’s easy to forget where this tournament was a little more than a decade ago.
The Travelers Championship was without a sponsor, without a worthwhile field, without a consistent date and on the verge of being jettisoned to the PGA Tour Champions schedule. The glory days of the old Greater Hartford Open had come and gone, and the PGA Tour’s ever-increasing machine appeared poised to leave little old Cromwell in its wake.
The civic pride is booming in this neck of the woods. Main Street is lined with one small business after the next, and this time of year there are signs and posters popping up on every corner congratulating a member of the most recent graduating class at Cromwell High School, which sits less than two miles from the first tee at TPC River Highlands.
Having made it through a harrowing time in the event’s history, the local residents now have plenty of reason to take pride.
The Tour’s best have found this little New England hamlet, where tournament officials roll out the red carpet in every direction. They embrace the opportunity to decompress after the mind-numbing gauntlet the USGA set out for them last week, and they relish a return to a course where well-struck shots, more often than not, lead to birdies.
Ten years ago, this tournament was also held the week after the U.S. Open. Stewart Cink won, and for his efforts he received a paltry 36 world ranking points. But thanks to a recent influx of star-power, this week’s winner will pocket 58 points – the same amount Rory McIlroy won at Bay Hill, and two more than Justin Rose got at Colonial. Now at the halfway point, the leaderboard backs up the hefty allocation.
While Brian Harman leads at 10 under, the chase pack is strong enough to strike fear in the heart of even the most seasoned veteran: McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson, they of the combined eight major titles, all sit within three shots of the lead. Former world No. 1 Jason Day is one shot further back, and reigning Player of the Year Justin Thomas will start the third round inside the top 20.
Paul Casey and Bryson DeChambeau, both likely participants at the Ryder Cup this fall, are right there as well at 8 under. Casey lost a playoff here to Watson in 2015 and has come back every year since, witnessing first-hand the tournament’s growth in scope.
“It speaks volumes for what Travelers have done and how they treat everybody, and the work that Andy Bessette and his team put in to fly around the country and speak highly of this event,” Casey said. “And do things which matter, to continue to improve the event, not just for players but for spectators.”
Part of the increased field strength can be attributed to the Tour’s recent rule change, requiring players who play fewer than 25 events in a season to add a new event they haven’t played in the last four years. Another portion can be attributed to the short commute from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands, a three-hour drive and even shorter across the Long Island Sound – an added bonus the event will lose two of the next three years with West Coast U.S. Opens.
But there’s no denying the widespread appeal of an event named the Tour’s tournament of the year, players’ choice and most fan-friendly in 2017. While Spieth’s return to defend his title was assumed, both Day and McIlroy are back for another crack this year after liking what they saw.
“Anyone that I talked to could only say good things about the tournament about the golf course, how the guys are treated here, how the fans come out, and how the community always gets behind this event,” McIlroy said. “Obviously I witnessed that for the first time last year, and I really enjoyed it.”
After starting the week with all four reigning major champs and five of the top 10 players in the latest world rankings, only Masters champ Patrick Reed got sent packing following rounds of 72-67. The remaining top-flight contingent will all hit the ground running in search of more low scores Saturday, with Spieth (-4) still retaining a glimmer of hope to keep his title defense chances alive, perhaps with a 63 like he fired in the opening round.
The Tour’s schedule represents a zero-sum game. Outside of the majors and WGCs that essentially become must-play events for the game’s best, the rest of the legs of the weekly circus become victim of a 12-month version of tug-of-war. Some players like to play in the spring; others load up in the fall. Many play the week before majors, while a select group block off the week after for some R&R far away from a golf course.
But in an environment where one tournament’s ebbs can create flows for another, the Travelers has continued a steady climb up the Tour’s hierarchy. Once in jeopardy of relegation, it has found its footing and appears in the process of turning several of the Tour’s one-name stars into regular participants.
Rory. Jordan. Bubba. JT.
It’s been a long battle for tournament officials, but the proof is in the pudding. And this weekend, the reward for the people of Cromwell – population 14,000 – looks to be a star-studded show.
“All the events are incredible,” Thomas said. “But this is kind of one of those underrated ones that I think until people come and play, do they realize how great it is.”