Despite all of the various indexes and ratings that say Tiger Woods has lost his marketing power in the wake of his scandal, Nike Golf President Cindy Davis says the company feels vindicated for sticking by the former World No. 1.
"I think our decision was absolutely right and there was not even a hesitation in being with Tiger," Davis said from the golf course northeast of Seoul via an Internet video call.
"He's been a part of what we do and making the very best product and to have an athlete of that calibre to give us feedback and perspective and be part of the team … Tiger does that in spades in developing the innovations we bring to the market."
Woods's ability to influence consumers dropped from 96th to 2,586th after a sex scandal at the end of 2009, according to the Davie Brown Index, and he finished the 2010 PGA Tour season without a title for the first time since he turned professional.
While several sponsors deserted him, resulting in lost millions in endorsement incomes, Nike believed his appeal was more than the sum of tournament wins and public image.
Pinehurst SetupWith the 2014 U.S. men's and women's opens being played in back-to-back weeks at the newly remodeled Pinehurst No. 2, the big question is how the course setup will vary for the men and women. ProGolfTalk's Ryan Ballengee recently played a round with Don Padgett II, President and COO of Pinehurst, and got the scoop.
1. The length of the course is the most obvious. The ladies won’t play from anywhere near 7500 yards.
2. The pins will be more accessible for the US Women’s Open. It won’t be easy by any stretch, but Padgett says the ladies will have a better opportunity to get to the cup on most holes.
3. Pinehurst No. 2 will be slightly less firm as compared to what the men will see the week prior. The speed really won’t change between the two Opens.
And with the new layout of the course, no rough at all and decreased emphasis on water, the course should not be all that different in terms of aesthetics or the fundamental experience of each Open.
Coming to a Cruise Ship Near You …Lobster golf balls. No joke. Researchers at the University of Maine announced they've created a biodegradable golf ball out of lobster shells designed for golfers on cruise ships.
Though biodegradable golf balls already exist, this is the first to be made with crushed lobster shells with a biodegradable binder and coating, creating value from waste material.
“We’re using a byproduct of the lobster canning industry which is currently miserably underutilized — it ends up in a landfill,” Neivandt says. “We’re employing it in a value-added consumer product which hopefully has some cachet in the market.”
And that cachet doesn’t come with a higher price tag. Biodegradable golf balls that are now on the market retail for a little under $1 per ball. The raw materials for the lobster shell balls cost as little as 19 cents per ball.
Caddell, a golfer, says the balls perform similarly to their traditional, white-dimpled counterparts. And they can be used with both drivers and irons.
“The flight properties are amazing,” Caddell says. “It doesn’t fly quite as far as a regular golf ball, but we’re actually getting a similar distance to other biodegradable golf balls.”
Tweet of the Day @Andres_Gonzales: T-38 fighter jet today. Didn't throw up and pulled 5.6 G's. Most fun I've ever had with clothes on.