Good PGA Show during tough times

By Casey BiererFebruary 1, 2009, 5:00 pm
2009 PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO, Fla. ' By George, theyve done it again. Another successful PGA Merchandise Show has been staged at the Orange County Convention Center. But, not without its share of apprehension on Thursday morning as the doors opened to credentialed industry professionals. Given the state of the economy domestically and indeed around the world, would people come? And, if they came, how many would come?
We expected attendance to be down a little bit, said Ed Several, VP and General Manager of PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions. The economy, of course, isnt the best right now. But, people in the golf industry have a reputation of rallying to a cause and supporting the game and the business. I believed all along the show would be a grand success.
Thursday was a little quieter than in years past; however, on Friday the elbow bashing barometer ' the universally accepted trade-show indicator that measures how many people smash in to you as you make your way through the miles and miles of exhibition space ' was on full bash.
Overall, we enjoyed a very productive PGA Show, said Jeff Fiorini, General Manager of grip manufacturer Golf Pride. There is no question that the industry is filled with a great deal of apprehension about the future. However, we are fortunate to be able to carry a great deal of brand momentum from 2008 into this year. Our product line has never been stronger. Our exposure on Tour has never been better. Again, we are bullish on our ability to come out the other end of this downturn with an even stronger position of leadership in the golf grip category.
Titleist was back at the show this year after an absence from the party, and by all accounts, quite pleased by the experience. 'As a stakeholder in the industry, we attended the PGA Merchandise Show to showcase and launch our new products, especially the New 2009 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, and to better connect with our partners,' said Peter Broome, VP of Business Partnerships, Acushnet Company. 'We were able to take advantage of the multi-dimensional opportunities such as the Titleist Experience presentations, product expert workshops, and Demo Day, in addition to exhibiting on the Show floor.'
According to Michele Szynal, VP of Public Relations for Callaway, the company is pleased. 'For Callaway, the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show was a great opportunity for us to showcase our innovation ' not just our equipment. And, for us, Demo Day is the best part of the Show ' it's where you separate true innovation from marketing hype,' Michele told me.
Speaking of Demo Day, the hands-on outdoor golf gear head extravaganza ' of which I am a proud participating gear head ' was in full-swing on Wednesday. HeyI couldnt resist. Orange County National was once again the venue. The huge 360-degree driving range (look up huge in the dictionary and there is a picture of Orange County Nationals driving range) was active with vendors and attendees alike.
We love participating at the demo day, Cindy Herington of Adams Golf told me. We think it's a great addition to the show and a fantastic way to experience and test out new product. It's also great to meet and talk to all of the different people involved with the product ' R&D, marketing, custom fitting, salesthe team of people that make Adams Golf such a special company.
As an aside to Adams Golf, they sponsor 2008 Remax Long Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski. He was at Demo Day making a special appearance in the Adams Golf hitting area. Remember I told you that the Orange County National driving range is circular in design? Well, normally this isnt an issue. It measures well over 400-yards across so whos going to hit you from the opposing side, right? Apparently they didnt count on Jamie showing up to hit balls. Using his baby driver, and on more than one occasion, people on the other end of the range had to scatter to avoid Jamies incoming. He seemed quite pleased with himself as well. Now granted, it was a little down wind, but, come on. Thats HUGE! Art Sellenger, Jamies Pinnacle Distance Team teammate told me that Jamie wasnt going to be able to use his competition driver that day because hed hit it too far. Baby driver, 400-yards, and a nice kid besides. Geez, Louise.
I digress. Nike Golf pulled out all the stops at Wednesdays Demo Day with the appearance of two major champions, Suzanne Pettersen and Trevor Immelman. Both Nike athletes used their valuable time in a very up-close and personal way sharing their thoughts on equipment, demonstrating swing technique, and openly and honestly answering a wide range of questions thrown their way. It was a really refreshing forum, and, Trevor was particularly impressive in his forthrightness; certainly a highlight of Demo Day and the whole show week.
Wrapping things up on Saturday, I had the chance to speak with PING veteran Pete Samuels. PING is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year and Pete reminded me that PING has been at virtually every PGA Merchandise Show since the event had its humble beginnings in 1954 in Dunedin, Florida. Its kind of neat, Pete tells me, John Solheim, Karstens son, can remember helping his dad put together a little tent in the parking lot in the early days of the show. And, a tent was the equivalent of a big booth today, because, most people showed their wares out of the trunks of their cars. To think that PING has come all this way and that we have done so hand-in-hand with the PGA of America and the PGA Merchandise Show is a very rewarding thing.
Some final thoughts of mineits tough out there, make no mistake about it. The back-bone of the economy is busted big time and its going to take a long time to fix. There will be consolidation in the golf industry this year and in to next. Major leading golf companies and smaller ones alike have had and will most likely continue to have lay-offs. Its painful, we all feel it, and it isnt going away any time soon. But, I agree with Ed Several: people in the golf industry rally. The golf industry and the business of golf are resilient by nature. Tigers absence certainly hasnt helped the cause and his return will be welcomed by all. It should give the entire world of golf a much needed boost.
In the meantime, I felt a positive atmosphere at the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show. The people who did come meant business, they were there to do business, and they did. I spoke to many vendors who told me they wrote much more business at the show than they were expecting. This is in line with the adage that 20% of the buyers do 80% of buying. This seems to ring truer than ever this year in these tough economic times.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Merchandise Show
  • Getty Images

    Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

    SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

    The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

    ''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

    Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.

    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

    Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

    ''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

    Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

    ''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

    Getty Images

    Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

    JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

    In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

    Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

    Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.

    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

    Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

    Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

    ''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

    Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

    ''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

    Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

    Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

    ''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

    The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

    Getty Images

    Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

    Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

    Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

    Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

    Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

    One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.

    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

    In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

    On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

    "I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

    Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

    Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

    And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

    Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.

    Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.