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October 10, 2003
Volume II, Issue 16
Fringe Clippings
Hallelujah, hallelujah, Reed rejoices
Callaway Golf's recent acquisition of the Top-Flite Golf Company made news, just as did their announcement that they will be attending the 2004 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. This is very good news for Reed Exhibitions, the owner of the rights to the show. The PGA Merchandise show is the largest golf trade show. Acushnet, owner of the Titleist, Cobra and Pinnacle brands, just as in 2003, will not be in attendance at the January 2004 show. Cancellations by both attendees and exhibitors for the 2002 show in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks was followed by Acushnet and others nixing the 2003 show. The 2004 PGA show looks to be the 3rd straight year of a downward trend in exhibitors and attendees. Reed Exhibitions can only hope that Acushnet and other golf exhibitors will have a change of heart for 2005.
Not quite Nostradamus, but...
The Cleveland Golf Company has quite a clairvoyant in its office. COO and company President Greg Hopkins signed PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel five years ago while on a trip in Singapore. Not bad, right? One time might be luck, but hitting gold twice is something else. 2003 is Hopkins' year for fruition of predictions. Three years ago on a tip in Taiwan, Hopkins signed Candie Kung. Yes, the same Candie Kung who has this year emerged as an LPGA star with three wins on tour!
From the tee box at Daytona...
Nascar and Golf? "Why not?" says Callaway Golf President and CEO Ron Drapeau. Callaway recently signed Rusty Wallace to a sponsorship, with the Callaway logo to be displayed on Wallace's racing sleeve. The sponsorship will be reciprocal, however, and Rusty will be making appearances to help promote Callaway while the golf juggernaut will be using Rusty's likeness to help sell its wares.
Just one more check to cash
Tiger Woods and Accenture have agreed to terms contractually. The consulting juggernaut and the golf deity are entering into a business partnership, the specifics of which were not immediately disclosed. Tiger will not be wearing an Accenture logo, nor will he have their logo on his equipment. He will, however, appear in print campaigns and the contract should pretty much guarantee Tiger's appearance in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Paralysis by Analysis
Social or competitive golfer, which are you?
There is an essential question looming out there among weekend warriors all over the planet. Well, there is more than one question, but whether or not Steven Segal should have to pay back everyone that ever saw one of his movies is not one we will concern ourselves with for now.

The more important question I am asking you is, "Do you play for the competition of golf or for the company you keep while playing?"

The reason this seemingly unimportant question is essential for every golfer to answer is to increase enjoyment of the game. That is the goal of both types of golfers, is it not? To enjoy the game is fundamental to the survival of both species in this case. So what we are trying to find out is what gives us enjoyment in the game. Is it the competition, the social, or a blend? Does one outweigh the other for you?

Is it the challenge of hitting the ball on the screws, straight down the fairway and becoming the envy of all those who watched your perfect sphere take flight? Or are you more enthralled by just being able to take the time necessary to cultivate your skill, regardless of the level at which you currently play?

Here is a battery of questions for you to answer for yourself. This will not be so complicated to evaluate that you need to dig to the bottom of your kid's Cap'n Crunch box for the "decoder" to figure out where you are. I think it will seem quite obvious to you who you are if you don't know already. The key to this is identifying your traits and seeking out partners of like characteristics to play with so that your enjoyment will be enhanced.
  1. When deciding who your foursome will include do you look for members of your club you know play for money?
  2. When teeing off, is it more important for you to decide how many strokes the worst player in your group will get or which tees it is fair to play from?
  3. Do you know what a press is and if so, do you apply to its principals more than once per week?
  4. Is your handicap important for the club records or for the member guest tournament you have to win?
  5. Do you kiss your sweetie when you get home regardless of how well you played?
  6. Is your kids' college tuition safe when you are teeing it up?
  7. Why do you play, because (internally) you have to or because you have free time?
  8. If you had the choice of playing with average non-betting golfers at a world class course or getting a high stakes game at your home course, which one do you choose?
You probably knew your golf motivation before this drill. But keep in mind that sometimes your buddies may not think the same way, so consider their motivations the next time you play. You will have more fun and so will they.

Here's to the "Double-presser", the "Cuban tokin'" and the "cart girl flirting maniac". I love you all and would gladly tee it up with any of you! Just don't expect me to pay up!
Reading the Line
There is no argument
First in scoring average, first on the money list, five wins, second in birdie average, fifth in putting and number one overall. If you are still debating who should win Player of the Year, allow me to suggest a new activity, "Naked Lawn Darts." I only suggest this because you have apparently had the partial lobotomy required for such senseless endeavors. Tiger is still the best this year had to offer. Many congratulations to the rest of the field for closing the gap on Mr. Woods. The gap, however, is still large enough to strike fear in the heart of even the mighty Fijian, Vijay Singh. Singh folded like "Charmin origami" in the presence of Eldrick on Sunday. The rest of the candidates for this year's Player of the Year race &151; Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, Davis Love and Kenny Perry — have all been thanked for their contributions and sent an invitation to try again next year. Disagree? Refer back to sentence three or click on editor@offthefringe.com and make your case. Either way my intern will be happy to laugh at your offerings.
Er ... um ... well, if you must have an answer...
Bernhard Langer has pretty much decided that he will almost definitely — that is to say he is pretty sure but not quite positive — that he will not be playing in next year's Ryder Cup. Rather, he has all but given every indication that he will probably not forfeit his captaincy of the European team on golf's greatest stage. Does anyone else get the impression that Bernhard and J. Lo went to the same class on commitment?
That should be about enough
What in the world happened to social responsibility? Whatever happened to the village helping to raise the child? What indeed happened to the good of the game? It's been the better part of a year now that 13 year old Michelle Wie has been capturing headlines in sports sections across the country and gaining highlight time on ESPN and The Golf Channel. She does have some decent golf to show for her efforts and no one doubts the kid has game. So what's the problem, you may be wondering. SHE IS STILL ONLY 13 YEARS OLD! She is still in Junior High! Not even old enough to rent a golf cart! Not old enough to enter into a contract. With a parent, she can see a PG-13 movie. Probably has a 10 PM school night bed time. Yeah, it's kind of funny that all these things are true about her, and yet she is such a phenomenal golfer. But the rules that society has placed upon our youth are for a very good reason. They are kids, and they need protection!

Now we stand in stark contradiction to these values by encouraging her to keep playing. We do this by serving her up as entertainment because the sponsors want to sell, and we as fans tune in to see the latest and greatest "That's Incredible" show to feed into our television sets! She is 13 years old and knows not the reasons why at 13 she is not ready for such stardom. Nor could she possibly understand the ramifications her success or failure may have upon other youth who may seek to follow in her footsteps.

It is the role of her father, her coach, the combined tours that she plays on and the golfing community itself to reject some of her ambitions and cause her to realize that her passion, if steadfast, will produce rewards when her maturity has matched her physical prowess. Currently, Wie is vying for a sponsor's exemption to the Sony Open in Hawaii next January. She is familiar with the course and stands a real chance to make the cut. How sad a day it would be were she to prove that her game can equal a PGA Tour player's. She will surely never look back from such a success and pity the LPGA, for they will never know the rewards of Michelle Wie if she feels women's golf is simply not challenging enough.

Sound irrational? Perhaps ... but only perhaps. Let's not be fooled. If Michelle couldn't draw a crowd and sell more commercials, this would be a non-issue.
Clark Kent or Superman?
Congratulations are in order to Lorena Ochoa on winning Rookie of the Year honors on the LPGA tour. Incidentally, has anyone ever seen her and Sergio in the same room?

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