FRIDAY  | JANUARY 26, 2018
by Mike Purkey

It will be the most scrutinized round of golf of the year, but it’s a good bet that Tiger Woods doesn’t care what everyone thinks of his first-round 72 on Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open.

At the end, he was smiling. And that’s all you really need to know. It was his first competitive round on the PGA Tour since last year at this time, and he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad. That even-par total came on the South Course at Torrey Pines, clearly more difficult than the North, where Woods will play today. After the 36-hole cut, the final two rounds will be played on the South Course.


by Steve Elling

On the sprawling floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, it has become the stuff of legend.

In fact, it’s almost cliché.

The outer reaches of the cavernous Orange County Convention Center, year after year, are populated by self-financed exhibitors who frequently fit a certain description. Sadly so, in some cases, because many first-time vendors of humble means don’t last long enough in the marketplace to attend the golf-industry expo for a second year.


Sure, go ahead and pamper us

Your piece on retaining existing customers is bang on (“Golf’s growth key: Retention over outreach,” Jan. 22).

Simple things, such as water and towels, seem pretty logical, come with little cost and should be a no-brainer. Sadly, that is seldom the case.



Number of bogeys that Brooke Henderson made Thursday at Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island, Bahamas, in her 5-under 68 for the first-round lead in the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. Henderson, 20, of Canada, is a five-time winner on the LPGA. Australia’s Sarah Jane Smith and Spain’s Luna Sobron Galmes shared second at 69. Americans Danielle Kang, Maria Torres and Lindsey Weaver were among six players at 70. Only 17 of the 108 competitors broke par in the windy conditions. Twelve players – all at 2 over or higher – were still on the course when darkness suspended the first round.


Ended: An 11-day strike by more than 300 freelance workers against Golf Channel, according to their union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The issues centered on wages and health care. The IATSE workers had walked off the job before the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii. Their two-year deal with Golf Channel, which is owned by NBC Sports Group, is retroactive to June 13.



The Grill Room Golf Show powered by Vertical Groove Golf 

Vertical Groove Golf launched its new 3-wood, and Jon Rahm moved to No. 2 in the world rankings after his playoff victory in the CareerBuilder Challenge. Rahm will be the defending champion this week at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods is making his first start of the year. A look into the PGA Merchandise Show, where the new products for 2018 are on display. Plus, a feature Interview with Vertical Groove Golf's Rubin Hanan.


Global Value Commerce recently was named to the National Golf Foundation’s inaugural list of the Top 100 Businesses in Golf. GVC operates an e-commerce platform for used golf equipment.


Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., has expanded its line of features to encourage families and juniors to play golf together, the club announced. Among the offerings at the Black Course, family tees provide a sixth teeing ground, expanding the course from 4,000 yards to its maximum 6,949. Two four-seater family golf carts with multiple USB ports, plus junior apparel and clubs also are available.


Villa del Palmar Resort and Spa announced that it is offering an Unlimited Golf and Fishing Package on the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. Guests can play the oceanfront Danzante Bay Golf Club and fish on a chartered boat.


The Ben Hogan Equipment Co. has introduced its Trade-up Program, the Fort Worth, Texas, manufacturer announced. After a purchase on, the buyer can sell used equipment for cash, based on fair market value, to help defray the cost of the new clubs.


Mark Brooks has joined the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co. as a paid endorser, the Fort Worth, Texas, manufacturer announced. Brooks, a seven-time PGA Tour champion, won the 1996 PGA Championship playing Hogan clubs. Brooks primarily plays the Champions Tour.


Leupold Golf announced that instructor Michael Breed will represent the manufacturer of laser rangefinders, beginning at this week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. Breed will use Leupold Golf’s rangefinders, and the company will market Breed’s likeness with its products.


January 24-26
Industry: PGA Merchandise Show
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
January 25-28
PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines GC (South), La Jolla, Calif.
European Tour: Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
LPGA: Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Paradise Island, Bahamas
January 26-28
Men’s amateur: Jones Cup
Ocean Forest GC, Sea Island, Ga.
February 1-4 Tour: Panama Championship
Club de Golf de Panama, Panama City
PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.)
European Tour: Maybank Championship
Saujana GC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
February 2-4
Ladies European Tour: Oates Vic Open
13th Beach Golf Links, Barwon Heads, Australia

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