THURSDAY  | JANUARY 17, 2019
by Ron Kroichick

Maybe other big-name celebrities secretly yearn to host a PGA Tour event. Maybe they also want to align themselves with the world’s best golfers and broaden the audience of a sport with a finite number of engaged, passionate fans.

And now they’re wondering: How did the Tour mess this up? That’s a fair question, with no easy answer.

 



Golf’s 80/20 formula adds up to 108
Reader Ed Mitchell is comparing apples to oranges regarding the benefits of modern equipment (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 15). A “serious golfer” is subjective, at best. Plus, Mitchell references a touring pro and not the weekend warrior.

I’m not going to argue that better clubs are not better to have. Sure, my 30-year-old Tommy Armour Silver Scot Collector No. 734 pitching wedge is not as good as my new 56-degree Vokey wedge with a 12-degree bounce. Blindfold that weekend warrior and put both clubs in his (or her) hand and see whether the results would be better or the same.

 


Committed: To start his season at the Farmers Insurance Open next week, Tiger Woods, who has won eight times at the San Diego municipal complex, including the 2008 U.S. Open, his most recent major championship. It will be the first PGA Tour event for Woods, 43, since September, when he won the Tour Championship for his 80th career victory and first in five years.

 


2

Number of times that Phil Mickelson has won the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic. Mickelson, 48, who grew up in San Diego, won the annual Palm Springs, Calif.-area stop in 2002 and 2004. The 60th edition begins today in La Quinta, Calif. Play will be held on three courses in the La Quinta area: PGA West’s Stadium Course and Nicklaus Tournament Course plus La Quinta Country Club. World No. 1 Justin Rose will be making his 2019 debut and first appearance at the Desert Classic since he missed the cut in 2010 (tee times).

 




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Marketing firm Buffalo.Agency has spun off from its parent entity, course-management company Billy Casper Golf, officials announced. John Watson, the former president of Hallmark Retail, has been named executive chairman of the new Buffalo Groupe. Kyle Ragsdale, who had divided his time between Buffalo and BCG, will be Buffalo Groupe’s chief executive officer. Buffalo holds an ownership stake in Morning Read.

 

Imperial Headwear will supply licensed merchandise for the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup as part of a three-year deal with the PGA of America, the company announced. Imperial products will be sold at the 2019, 2020 and 2021 PGAs and the 2020 Ryder Cup.

 

Operation 36 Network will introduce its updates for players and coaches within the development program during the PGA Merchandise Show, the company announced. Operation 36 will exhibit Jan. 23-25 at booth No. 984 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

 

Club Champion has opened a new club-fitting studio in Schaumburg, Ill., the company announced. Club Champion fits, sells and builds custom clubs with components from the major equipment manufacturers. The 3,000-square-foot site in Schaumburg is at 152 E. Golf Road.

 

Lamkin will display innovations to its Sonar line of grips during the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., the manufacturer announced. The model comes in two styles: Sonar Tour and Sonar Wrap. Lamkin also will preview its Sink Fit putter grip, which will be available for retail sale in February.

 

Inntopia announced plans to exhibit its booking platform at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. Inntopia will exhibit at booth No. 3013 in the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Cordillera Ranch has completed its Golf Performance Center and plans to open it this spring at the golf community in Boerne, Texas. Each of the two hitting bays will feature a three-camera system integrated with a FlightScope launch monitor.

 

Relion Battery introduced its next-generation lithium battery, the Insight Series, and will display the product at next week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. Relion Battery will exhibit from booth No. 3020 on Jan. 23-25 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

TecTecTec will display its new ULT-X rangefinder and ULT-G satellite GPS watch during the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. TecTecTec will exhibit from booth No. 1215 at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Thor Guard will introduce its latest model to predict lightning and tornadoes, the Thor Guard 360, during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. Thor Guard will exhibit its TG 360 model from booth No. 3329 at the Orange County Convention Center for the Jan. 23-25 show.

 

Online tee-time service GolfNow and management company Troon have extended a distribution agreement that dates to 2009 in a multiyear deal, the companies announced. GolfNow customers will receive preferred status at Troon-managed facilities.

 

NBC Sports Group begins its 2019 LPGA coverage today with the inaugural Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. It will be the first of 33 events totaling 435 hours of tournament coverage, both broadcast records for the women’s tour.

 

SiriusXM will return to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., and broadcast live with nearly 60 hours of programming on Jan. 21-25. The show will be available nationwide on Sirius channel 208 and XM channel 92 and on the SiriusXM app.

 


CALENDAR
January 16-19
Women’s amateur: Women’s South Atlantic Amateur

Oceanside CC, Ormond Beach, Fla.

European: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) GC

January 17-19
Champions: Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Hualalai GC, Kaupulehu, Hawaii

January 17-20
PGA Tour: Desert Classic

Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif.

LPGA: Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions

Four Seasons Golf & Sports Club Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Men’s amateur: Latin America Amateur

Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog), La Romana, Dominican Republic


      
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