The story got legs Thursday when Golf Australia magazine editor Brendan James hit Twitter to say that Sir Eldrick will not only play TaylorMade in 2017, he was thinking of buying the company as part of a group of investors.
Then James was seconded by another leading golf voice, Rick Young, a past president of the Golf Journalist Association of Canada and now a writer who follows the equipment industry.
Adidas currently owns TaylorMade but has made no secret it’s looking to get out of the golf equipment business, which isn’t producing the types of profits it once did.
Adidas bought TaylorMade in 1997 when it was part of a French ski and boot manufacturer called Salomon. TaylorMade paid $1.4 billion for Salomon and eight years later, it bought Reebok for $3.8 billion. TaylorMade also bought two other golf brands, Ashworth ($73 million in 2008) and Adams ($70 million in 2012).
Adidas’ golf apparel sales are strong, up 22 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to a year ago. TaylorMade’s golf business was up 6 percent but its overall golf brand, including TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth, was down 1 percent.
Nike recently announced it was going to stop making golf equipment and continue with its apparel business, which is thriving. Woods is among Nike’s biggest pitchmen, playing swoosh equipment and wearing its gear.
Nike has already kind of presented Woods’ “TW” line of apparel and shoes in a similar way to Michael Jordan’s Brand Jordan in basketball gear. Jordan’s stuff is Nike, but it has its own logo and branding experience.
Woods having his own official arm of Nike could make a lot of sense, and with his good buddy Day now in the fold, he would have a marketable star as well. And Day already plays TaylorMade clubs and plans to continue.
Woods — whether or not he did it under Nike or on his own — would also add huge star power to TaylorMade, too.
TaylorMade has long been on the cutting edge when it comes to golf. It was among the first to release drivers that golfers could adjust, adding more or less weight in certain spots on the head to help correct flaws in their swings.
It was among the first to introduce white drivers and fairway woods, which do work well to eliminate glare (though glare isn’t as big an issue for many golfers as some would have you to believe). Truth is, in our opinion, white just looks good on a driver or a fairway.
TaylorMade has also created a whole series of irons that just fly farther, that use lightweight shafts that are stable and give the weekend hacker a chance to hit that 190-yard par 3 with one swing.
And now, the company thinks it’s really hit, um, the golf iron sweet spot with its new RocketBladez. Customers can pre-order these irons now. They ship Dec. 1.
TaylorMade claims the new RocketBladez is 11 yards longer than the excellent Callaway X22 irons on the market now.
What’s the big secret?
TaylorMade has added what it’s tagged “this little thing,” a small pocket on the bottom of the club, that creates the same “trampoline effect” that you get when you hit a ball with a driver or fairway wood. The ball rebounds and flies off the face.
If all that’s mumbo-jumbo to you, just know this, if these clubs are what TaylorMade says they are (and we hope to test their theory soon), well, you’ll just have to seriously thinking about adding them to your arsenal.
The RocketBallz fairways woods, in our tests, delivered in their promise of higher and straighter drives with more distance, by about 5-10 yards over similar clubs we were hitting or were testing. These irons are based on similar tech.
TaylorMade says the technology also increases the size of the space on the club where you can expect optimal distance and consistent performance from the size of a pea to the size of a quarter. Since we don’t the ball like, say, TaylorMade endorser Sergio Garcia, this is huge. There’s a much better chance we hit the club somewhere near the right spot to enjoy the technological advances, or so the theory goes.
TaylorMade touring pros are also loving the club and touring pros don’t usually like distance irons because it’s hard to hit an 8-iron 155 yards every time with one. You can get yardages all over the place. TaylorMade thinks it’s solved that problem, too. It claims RocketBladez are not only long but distance consistent.
Again, we hope to test the theory but this could be the club many amateurs have always wanted.
Here’s the official press release:
CARLSBAD, CA–(Marketwire – Oct 23, 2012) – TaylorMade Golf Company President and CEO Mark King announced the arrival of what he says is the biggest iron innovation to date. Today, via a global webcast, King officially introduced RocketBladez, an iron with a remarkable new technology that promotes high launching, long, straight and quick-stopping performance for golfers of all abilities.
RocketBladez’ key new technology is its “Speed Pocket,” inspired by the distance-enhancing benefits of the RocketBallz fairway woods and Rescue clubs. TaylorMade engineers incorporated the Speed Pocket into RocketBladez irons to promote faster ball speed and a higher launch angle to promote longer, high-flying, quick-stopping shots. Altogether, the RocketBladez set consists of eleven individually designed clubheads, each tailored in size, shape and features to maximize distance, control and feel like never before.
“Metalwoods have advanced tremendously since TaylorMade introduced the first one in 1979,” said King. “The ball has advanced too, and even footwear and apparel have improved a great deal. But there hasn’t been a significant advancement in irons since the perimeter-weighted cavityback was introduced more than 50 years ago. The Speed Pocket changes that — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime innovation in the iron category. If your iron doesn’t have a Speed Pocket, your iron is out-dated.”
Incorporated into the 3- through 7-irons, the Speed Pocket is a 2mm-wide slot in the sole of the iron that flexes and rebounds at impact, increasing the speed of the face to promote faster ball speed, a higher launch angle and a higher, stronger ball flight that lands on a steep, quick-stopping descent angle.
The Speed Pocket advantage is especially effective on impacts made low on the face. TaylorMade studies indicate that 68% of iron shots by amateur golfers are mis-hits below the center of the face. The Speed Pocket helps to significantly increase ball speed and distance on those low-face mis-hits.
Tour professionals will also benefit from the distance benefits of the Speed Pocket, as TaylorMade is also offering a RocketBladez Tour model. Unlike other distance irons, the RocketBladez Tour iron delivers consistent distance and is void of “hot spots” on the clubface, to ensure predictability and distance consistency from shot to shot.
“We created RocketBladez irons for amateurs, but when our Tour Staff pros tried it, they wanted it,” said King. “We created a Tour version, and they love it. It’s the first distance-oriented iron to be played on Tour. The genius of the Speed Pocket is that not only does it deliver more speed for more distance, it delivers consistent speed, so shots fly a consistent distance. That combination of speed and consistent distance is what made the eyes of our tour pros light up.”
The 3- through 7-irons boast the most sophisticated clubface TaylorMade has ever created for a Tour iron, fashioned from fast, high-strength stainless steel with improved Inverted Cone design. Consistent distance gaps throughout the set made possible by careful management of the Speed Pocket, Inverted Cone, face thickness, CG location, loft and shaft length.
RocketBladez irons are priced at $799 with steel shafts, $899 with graphite shafts, and are available for pre-order on October 23. The irons hit retail starting Friday, November 30. RocketBladez Tour Irons will be available at retail February 1 for $899. Learn more at taylormadegolf.com.
Speed Pocket The Speed Pocket flexes and reflexes at impact to add speed to the clubface, which increases ball speed and launch angle. The Speed Pocket is filled with a specially formulated polyurethane developed by 3M that quiets vibration without significantly slowing/inhibiting the flex of the pocket, while also keeping debris out. In conjunction with the highly sophisticated face design (11% thinner than our previous thinnest), adds up to 10 COR points to the face compared to Burner® 2.0 irons, and promotes dramatically less drop-off in ball speed on impacts low on the face — where the majority of iron mis-hits occur. That means the COR low on the face is higher than it’s ever been in a TaylorMade iron, and the benefit is that thin shots carry significantly farther.
Ultra-thin clubface with improved Inverted Cone design The RocketBladez clubface (both models) consists of strong, maraging stainless steel. It’s our most sophisticated clubface design yet, made possible by more evolved analysis and testing and our increasing mastery of the manufacturing processes. It’s the thinnest iron face TaylorMade has ever created, with the top section now 1.6 mm, down from 1.8 — that’s 11% thinner. Both new RocketBladez iron models also incorporate our most newest and most effective iteration of Inverted Cone Technology. The improved Inverted Cone design delivers two critical benefits. One, it increases the size of the clubface area that delivers high ball speed. Two, it influences how the face flexes and rebounds at impact to control the angle at which the ball leaves the face, promoting straighter shots and a tighter dispersion. This is a critical benefit that promotes significantly greater accuracy compared to previous high COR irons.
Low and centered CG location Impacting the ball where the CG is located on the face is critical to achieving maximum ball speed. In both RocketBladez iron models, TaylorMade engineers fine-tuned the CG to a low and absolutely centered location on the face by shortening the hosel to save weight and taking additional weight from the top of the club, then redistributing it all in strategic areas within the head. In the RocketBladez clubhead design, 17.5 grams of redistributed weight enabled us to lower the CG by 2.5 mm compared to the Burner® 2.0 iron. Locating the CG lower and in the center of the face makes it easier to consistently find the sweetspot to achieve maximum energy transfer from club to ball, promoting a higher launch angle and maximum distance.
External and Internal Hosel-bending Notches RocketBladez irons (both models) feature a distinct external notch on the outer, rear side of the hosel and an internal notch inside that together make it easy to bend the head to change the lie angle. That’s a distinct advantage to bendability when employing high-strength stainless steel in the head construction.
DirecTV constantly pushes through some neat innovations and its new DirecTV Anywhere iPad app is pretty sweet, too (though we’d like to be able to see live TV). DTV Anywhere allows iPad users who are DirecTV subscribers to see some TV content on their iPad, via WiFi or 4G or 3G or LTE cellular networks.
One of the older innovations is expanded Masters’ Tournament coverage and the satellite company is again delivering beginning Thursday.
Fans can follow a featured group (think Tiger Woods, think Phil Mickelson, think Rory McIlroy) as well as coverage of certain holes and much more. Best of all, it’s all in glorious HD. And it’s free.
Here’s the press release.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 28, 2012 – DIRECTV swings into another season of expanded, interactive golf coverage April 5-8 with the 2012 Masters Tournament, offering fans a unique, in-depth viewing experience that is the next best thing to a patron badge at golf’s most prestigious event.
Combining CBS Sports’ and ESPN’s live HD coverage of the Tournament, DIRECTV’s “Masters Mosaic” interactive TV application and six-channel Masters Mix will immerse fans in the atmosphere of the fabled Augusta National Golf Club, allowing them to more closely follow the world’s best golfers as they vie for the coveted Green Jacket.
The Masters Mix Channel, available only on DIRECTV, offers fans six views of the Tournament: the main CBS Sports/ESPN feed; two Featured Group channels; Amen Corner; holes 15 and 16; and “Masters in Depth,” along with a continuously running leader board featuring live tee times, scoring and leaders’ locations on the course. Each extra channel of coverage is fully produced with its own announcers.
Viewers will also have access to the following interactive menu of features 24 hours a day throughout the tournament on any of the six Masters channels:
· Top Five Leaders – displays the top five current scores against par.
· Leader Board – provides information on all the golfers in the field including players’ hole-by-hole stats through the Scorecard feature, displaying greens hit in regulation, driving distance, putting average for each player in the field, and will include current and previous rounds. And a new customizable leader board lets fans select their favorite player and place them on top of the board to more easily track their scores.
· Highlights – allows viewers on-demand access to the previous round’s highlights as well as five golfer-specific highlight packages focusing on the top two leaders and three notable players in each round.
· Course Tour – provides fans with a birds-eye video of each hole.
· Masters Quiz – challenges fans with 10 questions, refreshed daily, about the history of the Masters and Augusta National, and the day’s action on course.
“We’re thrilled to continue our association with the Masters Tournament, CBS Sports and ESPN to create another spectacular viewing experience for golf fans,” said Tony Goncalves, senior vice president, Product Management, DIRECTV. “The Masters Mosaic offers fans who love the game a whole new way to watch the Tournament and feel the aura of Augusta, and it’s only on DIRECTV.”
DIRECTV’s Tournament coverage will also include the 2012 Masters Preview Show premiering April 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET on its exclusive Audience Network. CBS Sports announcer Ian Baker Finch talks with the world’s No. 1-ranked player Luke Donald, who offers exclusive insights on the 2012 Masters Tournament – only on DIRECTV. The 2011 Masters Official Review Show will also premiere on the Audience Network on April 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. ET. All video highlights and a course tour will be available on DIRECTV On Demand. DIRECTV will also air 3D coverage of the Tournament on ESPN 3D (Channel 106). For details on all Tournament coverage visit www.directv.com/masters.
EA Sports has released the new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 videogame for Mac and PC users. Like on the console game released earlier this year, this version brings a digitized version of Augusta National to the computer screen.
There are 14 other courses included, like Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
Here is the presser:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., – September 6, 2011 – Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today the release of its highly popular Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 12: The Masters video game for the PC and Mac® platforms. Golf enthusiasts and gamers can now experience the iconic Masters Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club on a PC or Mac for the first time in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR franchise history. An additional 14 championship courses are included, such as Pebble Beach®, St. Andrews Links®, and TPC™ at Sawgrass.
Boxed copies of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters on the PC/Mac are now available for purchase at EA’s Origin.com for $39.99 MSRP as well as other retailers. Each copy of the game includes a three-month membership to Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® Online*, an authentic golf experience streamed directly through a web browser. As a member, gamers will have access to additional features such as expanded multiplayer modes, additional courses and group tournaments.
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters for PC/Mac will include a host of gameplay features including:
· Road to the Masters: Start your journey down the “Road to the Masters” as your career begins on the amateur tour and you work your way through Q-School, Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR. Experience the rich history and tradition of the Masters Tournament and begin your chase to capture the most sought-after prize in professional golf – the Green Jacket.
· Masters Moments: Play through memorable, historic moments as you try to measure up against some of the sport’s greatest legends.
· Tiger at the Masters: Relive each of Tiger’s four wins at the Masters by attempting to equal or beat his scores in each round of the Tournament.
· Inside Augusta: Hole-by-hole descriptions of one of the most famous courses in the world – Augusta National Golf Club.
· 14 Championship Courses: In addition to Augusta National Golf Club and its Par 3 Course, take on the best of the best on some of the world’s most celebrated courses including Pebble Beach®, St. Andrews Links®, TPC™ at Sawgrass and many more!
· Photo Game Face: Upload your own image and create your golfer using the Photo Game Face technology.
For PC owners only, a digital download version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is available on Origin.com. All PC copies of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters will have Origin integrated. Gamers will receive automatic updates for the game, fast access to downloadable content, and real-time chat with friends via Origin’s in-game overlay. In addition, playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters allows you to start the game at one location, suspend it, go home and pick up the action exactly where you left off – without needing a disc.
TaylorMade Golf releases new technology faster than most any company around. And while that may not make the golf shops happy, it’s great for the consumer, and the company’s latest shoe intro could be more of the same.
The company is calling its new Tour360 ATV (all-terrain versatility) — in typical marketing speak — it’s “most technologically advanced shoe to date.”
Hopefully, we’ll get our grubby little hands on a pair to test out and report back to you, but for now we can only tell you what TaylorMade does, that the shoe:
— Utilizes innovative forefoot flexibility and zonal traction elements to deliver maximum grip, comfort and stability throughout the swing. The ATV’s multiple flex points in the forefoot allow the foot to move and flex in the way it was inherently meant to, and adapt to any surface.
— Features a dual-density outsole with 10-spikes for sure footedness in all conditions.
— Has a full-grain leather upper with a FitFOAM molded polyurethane insole.
Everybody is writing off ol’ Eldrick Woods these days. Just because he came back from what was basically a three-month layoff from a knee injury and didn’t play well.
What did you expect?
Seems to me that Ernie Els and a bunch of big-time name golfers are down in Greensboro, N.C., this week to play in a tournament that none of them would chose to play in to try to qualify for the PGA playoffs next week. Tiger’s not going to Greensboro and Tiger’s not going to the playoffs. Both are good things actually. Tiger needs to practice.
Since injuring his left knee and Achilles’ at the Masters in April, Woods has spent much more time rehabbing than putting or pitching and was in a protective boot for a long stretch. He hasn’t worked with his teacher, Sean Foley, much, and those two were in the middle of a pretty significant swing change.
Yet all the TV pundits on Golf Channel and ESPN are watching Tiger struggle and talk about his lost game as if he’s been on the tour playing heavy amounts of golf and lost his game. Phil Mickelson has stunk it up this year. So has Els, but those guys don’t get to live in the spotlight that Woods does. The top American in the world right now is Steve Stricker and he’s had to win comeback player of the year twice to get there. He completely lost his game. Found his way back.
The guess here is that Woods still has game. We saw it at Augusta, we saw in stretches the past couple of weeks. What he needs is more practice and then to play. I’m not sure it benefits him to play publicly right now because of who he is and the state his game is in. Pundits love to go to panic mode when Tiger misses a cut or fails to shoot 68.
Will Tiger gets to 19 majors and pass Jack Nicklaus. He’s 35. Nicklaus didn’t win his 15th major until he was 38.
Tiger has time. He’s healthy now.
He just needs to work on his game some. And play more.