Friday, December 11, 2009

LandColt Daily Market Opinion

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Golf Has Itself to Blame for this Publicity Nightmare
By: Todd M. Schoenberger

Never in the history of sports, has one single player managed to influence the economics and future as much as Tiger Woods. His presence is earth-moving when it comes to tournament winnings, television ratings, exposure and branding. The trickle-down effect is evident all the way down to the local driving range charging extra just to hit a used ball in an open field.

The sport of golf has enjoyed incredible popularity due to Tiger, mainly because Tiger has been elevated to god-like status by the PGA. Simply ask a non-fan to name one other golfer on the tour, and you may wait long enough just to see Tiger get through this disaster.

But golf has only itself to blame. By putting its reputation and future on the shoulders of one golfer, the sport put itself at risk of killing its brand. Yes, there are more golfers than ever spending billions of dollars on all-things golf; and television ratings highlighting Tiger have brought in even more money, but now the PR spin-machine may have to work overtime to salvage what many see as a sport with a limited audience.

Golf needs to look into its own roster and elevate the exposure of someone who won’t recreate another mess. The PGA tried it a couple of times by attempting to create a rivalry between Tiger and Phil Mickelson; but the two never meshed and rarely spoke about each other in public. Kinda makes you wonder what Phil’s attitude towards Tiger was all about, eh?

When the 2010 PGA Tour kicks off on January 4th in Hawaii, look for Phil to be the headliner and eventual ‘main attraction’ for future tours. And, don’t be surprised if Phil’s Callaway Hybrid Clubs also grab the attention of weekend hobbyists who wish to have all-world talent. This much-deserved attention on Phil and his clubs will help maintain some momentum for the sport, and may also help the bottom line for Callaway (NYSE: ELY).

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