Knock, knock…Anybody home?
Happy New Year!
After two weeks of holiday cheer, it’s time to give the head a shake, at least here at GolfNewsNow.ca as we begin our first full year of operation with some serious challenges ahead for the Canadian golf industry.
The overall economy promises to be the story in 2009, just as it was last year, and we will hear enough gloomy news in the months to come, so it’s important to never forget health, family, friends and good people that we work with in the golf industry.
For me, launching GNN in September was the highlight of 2008, but there were other quotes, incidents and people-related stories that offset the bad news about the economy.
Sometimes, just remembering the positive things from the industry in which we work, and there are plenty of them, tends to recharge the batteries.
Take a few moments to recall some personal highlights from last year and realize that more will come in 2009, despite the economic forecasts. Here are a few that I recall from 2008:
This quote from Justin Timberlake at the launch of the FT-iQ driver in New York after signing with Callaway just a couple of weeks earlier: “Well, it makes sense because it doesn’t make sense – if that makes sense.”
It did make sense, even if it didn’t make sense. Timberlake was explaining why a non-tour star would sign with one of the major manufacturers to play and endorse its clubs.
The music of Timberlake, a devoted golfer who also has his name on the PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas, was a big part of the lives of the generation now reaching 30 years old, many of them without a devotion to a particular brand just yet. Putting its brand on one of that generation’s icons makes sense for Callaway.
If that makes sense.
At the same launch in New York, George Fellows, president and chief executive officer for Callaway Golf, was asked if his company was ever interested in acquiring Ashworth, a company that went to rival TaylorMade-adidas after designing Callaway apparel for years.
“We design golf clubs. We don’t design shirts,” said Fellows.
I take it that meant no.
“It almost bit me, but I got away with it,” said champion Kyle German, who edged Marc Girouard of Club de Golf Balmoral in Morin Heights, Que., on the first playoff hole at the Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The always-smiling head professional at Point Roberts Country Club near Vancouver had taken a 10 on the 18th hole on the first day of the tournament. but still managed to bounce back to become a contender.
Of course, the 18th just had to be the hole that the playoff took place on and German did struggle after putting his tee shot into a fairway bunker, missing the green, then chunking his chip on, but he still managed to prevail.
The entire tournament proved that the game doesn’t have to be perfect and that people who spend most of their time performing other duties instead of playing can provide some very entertaining golf.
After all the flights I’ve taken and the miles I’ve traveled in my years of covering the golf industry, I actually experienced a momentary fear of flying when our plane was diverted from San Diego to Palm Springs due to high winds.
The descent into the California desert was hardly a delightful alternative as the winds smacked us coming down, rattling the plane from side to side, causing some passengers to look for the barf bags and others to say their prayers, although kneeling wasn’t an option.
The hour we spent on the tarmac after this rough landing was cause for reflection on how fragile life is and how you should never take anything for granted. We did make it to San Diego, still got to watch the Super Bowl that day at La Costa and, a year later, I’m still churning out blogs and columns.
Some might disagree, but that last one is definitely a positive in my book!
Nobody had heard of Chez Reavie before he won the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey at July, but the young guys who run Quagmire Golf got a lot of mileage out of Reavie even before he became the champ, first introducing him at a media day the Monday before the tournament got started.
It’s good to see young entrepreneurs catch a break. Back in September of 1997, I recall meeting another upstart while she was wandering the show floor at what is now the PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas. Her name was Linda Hipp, who has done quite well since then with her Lija apparel line.
John Solheim, chairman and chief executive officer for Ping, was chatting about tough times ahead with the economy recently and he mentioned how important it was to deal with issues before they become critical.
“My feeling is we need to make moves before we have to,” said Solheim, who received a new kidney four years ago.
“It’s kind of like my kidney. I wanted it done before I needed it,” he said, before stopping to think on that statement.
“I was pretty close to needing it — but I never went on dialysis.”
It’s good to see Solheim’s health and spirits in good condition as the company begins its 50th anniversary year with a party that will take place at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
NEW GNN POLL: GNN is kicking off 2009 with a new poll now up on the home page and it is about the economy, which even financial people can’t see to agree on. How long do you expect it will take before the economy starts to get better? Be sure to register your vote.