News from the Business World
CHICAGO, Ill. -- In a move to help strengthen Wilsons position in golf, Wilson Sporting Goods President Chris Considine announced the management team of the companys golf business.
Considine has named Tim Clarke General Manager for Wilson Golf and has appointed six other new key management team members. Earlier this year, Considine was appointed president of the nearly $1 billion dollar Wilson Sporting Goods after a ten year run as general manager of team sports ' one of the most profitable divisions in the multibillion dollar American Sports Corporation.
If you look at our other sports, Wilson is the product that the pros play, but we are also a category leader across virtually the entire sporting goods spectrum, stated Considine. The Wilson Golf brand has been built by over 90 years of performance, innovation and authentic brand positioning. Consumers trust Wilson. With a renewed R&D effort and a focused sales and marketing approach, we will focus on profitable growth.
Tim has been a very important member of our golf team for the past ten years, and is well respected both within Wilson, as well as the golf industry as a whole. His understanding of both the U.S. and global golf marketplace will be vitally important, as we move forward.
Wilson stands for performance and innovation, from our premiere line to our recreational products, no matter who we are selling to, commented Tim Clarke. We are certainly not exiting any channels, however, were focusing our commitment to those customers who support our brand. We have also refocused our sales to more effectively service the off-course chains and green grass shops.
In addition to Tim Clarke, Mr. Considine made the following personnel announcements:
Tom Gruger will continue as the Global Business Director for Golf Balls and will officially assume responsibilities for all global marketing, public relations and communications for Wilson Golf; Mike Boylan, a 30+ year veteran with Wilson, has been appointed Global Business Director for Recreational Clubs and will be the primary contact for all U.S. based golf trade activities; Jean-Pierre Degembe has been promoted to Global Business Director for Pro Clubs, along with his role as international liaison for Wilson Golf; Michael Markovich, has been promoted from his position as Business Manager for Wilson Retail Bats and Accessories to Director of Purchasing and Distribution Planning for Golf and Racquet Sports; Doug Guenther has been promoted to lead the Global Research and Development efforts for all of Wilson. As a leader in sporting goods technology, Doug will transfer breakthrough technologies to all product areas within Wilson.
Bob Thurman will continue his lead role of the Research and Design team and has been promoted to Global Director for R&D Golf.
SRIXON INTRODUCES RE-ENGINEERED AD333 GOLF BALL
ATLANTA, Ga. -- Srixon Sports recently announced the re-introduction of their award winning AD333 golf ball. The new AD333 golf ball features a reformulated cover which Srixon says delivers more spin and control than the original, plus a more resilient Energetic Gradient Growth core. According to Srixon, the result is a ball with softer feel that launches higher, with less spin and more ball velocity for greater distance.
'At Srixon, we have always said that the only time we will launch a new golf ball is when we know we've created something better,' said Richard Stamper, Srixon's President and COO. 'The original AD333 proved that a 2-piece ball could incorporate great feel and control in addition to having great distance. The new and improved version takes what we've learned about the dynamics of ball and club impact to further optimize launch conditions for most golfers playing this ball. An improved cover and Energetic Gradient Growth core produces greater initial velocity, lower spin and a higher launch angle for a wide range of swing speeds,' added Stamper.
The new AD333 features a reformulated, proprietary, and highly resilient Rabalon-elastomer blended cover, exclusive to Srixon. Rabalon is a soft and durable material that is 35-percent more resilient than standard ionomer, the material found in competitive 2-piece products. Srixon says this increase in resilience provides greater ball speed and initial velocity off the tee while providing soft feel and spin on all approach shots into and around the green.
According to Srixon, the new AD333 cover also features the same, aerodynamically superior 333 dimple pattern which provides a penetrating and stable ball flight in all wind conditions. These aerodynamics further enhance distance because it increases carry and has a shallow angle of descent for more roll, delivering much greater overall distance for all swing speeds.
Srixon told me the new AD333 also features a more resilient yet soft Energetic Gradient Growth core than its predecessor providing greater ball speed and initial velocity which help to increase distance. In combination with the Energetic Gradient Growth construction that is firmer on the outside and gets progressively softer towards its center, the new AD333 launches high with less spin - ideal conditions for distance. All parts of the new AD333 construction are designed to give all golfers the potential to hit it long off the tee yet maintain control on approach, Srixon says.
The new AD333 will be sold exclusively in on- and off-course golf shops and carries a suggested retail price of $25 per dozen.
THE FAT LADY SWINGS AGAIN
ALBANY, GA. -- The Fat Lady will soon be swinging again. Bobby Grace putters by MacGregor have been making a name for themselves on Tour lately with 20 worldwide victories and more than $38 million in winnings over the past two years, including three of this past seasons most prestigious PGA Tour events: the Tour Players Championship, the Memorial and the Tour Championship.
Now a famous name from Graces past ' The Fat Lady Swings ' has been infused with modern, high-MOI technology for 2006. Combining that classic Fat Lady feel and shape with a host of advanced new technologies in putter design, the Fat Lady Swings promises to turn more than a few heads while it goes about its business of shaving strokes from your score. Prototype versions of the new Fat Lady Swings were used to set two course records on the Nationwide Tour in just its first two months on the Tour.
'The Fat Lady Swings is Bobby Graces signature putter design updated with fresh technologies and the newest materials,' said Barry Schneider, chairman and CEO of MacGregor Golf. It is a truly unique and exciting product which exemplifies our commitment to use the worlds most advanced technologies to make the game easier and more enjoyable for every player, regardless of their skill level.'
With its low-profile, stepped and rounded mallet head design, its high polish chrome sole plating, high-density Copper sole inserts and unique Beryllium Copper (BeCu) face insert, the new Fat Lady Swings combines the classic elegance and sophistication of the original Fat Lady with modern technology and enhanced functionality.
The new Fat Lady uses advanced materials and technology that will make it an all-star performer on the green. It starts with a club head that is 100-percent milled from a solid block of 60-61 aircraft grade aluminum, producing a lightweight, rigid and precise putter body. Through strategic weighting of the club head, The Fat Lady Swings delivers an exceptionally high Moment of Inertia (MOI), or resistance to twisting, for ultimate stability and forgiveness. 195 grams of weights strategically placed in the heel, toe and trailing edge the sole, move the Center of Gravity (CG) deep away from the face. This deep CG, triangular weight and high MOI design makes for an extremely stable club head resulting in a putter that hold its line and puts a true, early roll on the ball even with off-center hits, says MacGregor.
The original Fat Lady Swings burst on the scene when a prototype version of the club was used to win the 1994 St. Jude Classic with only 50 putts in the final 36 holes of play. Following the victory, Grace had more than 27,000 orders for the putter. The tournament winner ,with the Fat Lady in hand, went on to win the 1994 PGA Championship and to become the #1 ranked player in the world.
The new Fat Lay Swings is available at retail golf shop nationwide and carries an advertised price of $179.99. An optional Adjustable Heel/Toe weight kit retails for $49.99
LAMKIN UNVEILS DUAL DENSITY TORSION CONTROL GRIPS
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Lamkin announces the introduction of its new-for-2006 Dual Density Torsion Control grips that combine an all-new stabilizing, torque-reduction design, Lamkins proprietary base layer and its patented Laser-Tac surface. The result: longer, straighter golf shots.
According to Lamkin, the new Lamkin Dual Density Torsion Control grip takes grip performance to an entirely new level, incorporating 20 separate, innovative stabilizing bars to reduce torque and increase club control more than any other grip on the market. In addition to the torque reduction, Lamkins patented Laser-Tac surface technology enhances traction, feel and performance in all playing conditions by means of a moisture channeling pattern similar to those found on high-performance all-terrain tires, rather than traditional grip patterns that can actually retain moisture. Plus, the Dual Density Torsion Control grips softer outer layer is strategically injected around the sculpted contours of the base layer to create a seamless transition from the firmer base and to provide extreme vibration dampening. Together, the unique design and surface technology allow for consistent hand pressure throughout the swing that allows a golfer to generate more distance and accuracy, says Lamkin.
The Dual Density Torsion Control is more than a new grip. Its a whole new level of performance and technology that has never been seen, nor felt, in a golf grip, says Bob Lamkin, president and CEO of Lamkin Corporation. The technology behind the Dual Density Torsion Control design delivers significant improvement to the overall performance and functionality of the golf club. By allowing a golfer to apply consistent hand pressure throughout the swing, the Dual Density Torsion Control grips can provide longer, straighter shots. These grips are truly revolutionary.
Lamkin Dual Density Torsion Control grips are available in three different models with standard and oversize options. The Dual Density Torsion Control grip is suited to fit the majority of golfers and features a hard-to-miss blue surface layer with black torsion bars. The Dual Density Torsion Control Tour Series is designed for better players and features a firmer black surface layer with blue torsion bars. Both Dual Density Torsion Control grips feature a 0.580-in. core (Round) and are available as standard (52 grams) and 1/16 oversize (64 grams). The Torsion Control putter grip also has a 0.580-in. core, a blue surface layer and black base, and weighs in at 58 grams.
MSRP for Lamkin Dual Density Torsion Control grips include: $7.99 for the Dual Density Torsion Control and Dual Density Torsion Control Tour Series; and $8.99 for the Dual Density Torsion Control putter.
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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:
The Monday morning headline will be …
REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.
RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.
MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.
JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.
Who or what will be the biggest surprise?
HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.
LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.
BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.
COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.
Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?
HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.
LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.
BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.
COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.
What will be the winning score?
HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.
LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.
BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.
COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.
Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty
Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.
Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.
This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):
While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:
Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.
Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.
“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”
McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.
“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”
He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.
Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign
A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.
Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.
Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.
And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”