Thursday, May 3, 2007

Golf Channel shakeup

Just a few thoughts on this young golf season.

The Golf Channel is working hard to get their production headed in the right direction. Rich Lerner does a good job in the role of Jack Whittaker and will be better once he acquires the elder statesman look. With the exception of Nick Faldo, everyone has to get comfortable in their role and loosen up a bit.

It appears obvious that Kelly Tilghman still thinks she's in charge as the first woman anchor of a golf telecast. Kelly, the truth is it's Nick's show and Nick's alone. You're main role thus far, is to fill the dead air when Faldo takes a break. Let's face it, working with the right straight men, Faldo and Johnny Miller are in a class of their own.

It will be interesting to see how the season plays out. They can actually make a difference in the way the first two rounds are seen by the public. Personally, some of the most intense golf I've seen has been played between 4 and 5:30 on Friday afternoons. That's when a missed putt can equal a missed cut and no paycheck for the week. Trust me; TV ratings go through the roof in every PGA Tour locker room between those hours. Let's hope TGC can capture the moment.
This is the week of the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

For the past four or five years, the show appeared to be in decline. Titleist, TaylorMade and a few other staples of the industry rethought their strategy and passed on the show. This allowed Callaway to flourish and gave Nike the impetus and sales to sign a few more stars, dress them in black and stand them behind Tiger in yet another overpriced ad.

This year, TaylorMade returns to the show trying to reinstate their prominence in the industry. They'll find a different beast than they left.

What was first thought to be a decline by the various pundits wasn't a decline at all. It was more a correction in direction. It became a forum for smaller companies in front of the largest collection of buyers in the world. The little guy had a chance and took advantage of it. TaylorMade won't dominate the show; they're going to have to learn how to coexist.
As in every year, there is one product that makes you think, "what were they thinking of?"
This year a release landed in my e-mail box about the Windage. It's a container of "fine powder" reads the release. The golfer is spray the powder into the air, watch it closely and be able to tell exactly the direction in which the wind is blowing.

In truth, this is the second generation of a product called "Windfloater." That was a container of what appeared to be lint. You'd take it out of this hockey puck-shaped container, throw it in the air and watch it fly.

I thought at the time about a guy who had thought and planned for years to invent the greatest golf gadget of all times. When he finally had it, he proudly showed it off to a friend and the friend turned to him and asked, "Have you heard of grass?"

As a side note to the Windage people. The USGA and the R&A have ruled that such tools that gauge the wind are outside elements. Every time you spray the powder or toss some lint, it's a two-stroke penalty.

Like I said, what were they thinking?

Hey, on that note, Pour Me Another One. I'm working on this gadget sets off a buzzer every time I start the club back off line. It fits in the glove. No one will ever know. This is such a great idea---make it a double.


No comments: