LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Apple NewsMarch 26, 2019

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The International Association of Golf Tour Operators reported that 2018 was a banner year for golf visitors to the US & Canada, up 5.4% from 2017. Internationally, there has been an 8.6% growth of golf visitors with a substantial increase to Vietnam and Japan. Northern Ireland leads the way in Europe due to the 2019 Open Championship coming to Royal Portrush in July. All in all, golf resorts continue to see substantial growth as third world countries produce new enthusiastic golfers wanting to play worldwide. We in the United States can thank International Association of Golf Tour Operators for filling the void of our losses in golf rounds with visitors from around the world. A big shout out to the LPGA for taking their game on the road and helping to include more women to the game. If the trend continues, golf courses will be willing to reinvest in their facilities, which is good for everyone. So Go PLAY!

Armed with a full bag of TaylorMade equipment, Seoul sister TM Ambassador Sung Hyan Park captured her 6th victory at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

On the PGA Tour Champions at the Tucson National Catalina course Mark O’Meara, at age 62, ran away from the field to win the Cologuard Classic after an 8 year drought. Congrats to a really good guy, Mark.

Speaking of old guys, a shout out to Vijay Singh at age 56 for his extraordinary play against a bunch of young bucks at PGA National’s Champion Course. Had he won he would have unseated Sam Snead, who at 52, won the Greater Greensboro Open and has held the oldest player to have won a PGA TOUR title for 54 years.

A University of Georgia Dawg, 26 year-old, Keith Mitchell, avoided a playoff with Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka by birdieing the last hole to win by 1 stroke at the windswept PGA TOUR Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. Keith took charge with his Mizuno MP-18 irons and newly released ST-190 driver.

At the Oman Open on the European Tour, Twenty-six year old Californian Kurt Kitayama secured his second win in the same amount of months, playing a full contingent of TaylorMade clubs and ball.

Italian Francesco Molinari, the 2018 Open Champion, shot a 64 on the last day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with his new Callaway Epic Flash driver, fairway wood, Apex irons, Mack Daddy wedges, Callaway bag, Odyssey putter and Chrome SoftX ball at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida to win his third PGA title. Interestingly, Keith Mitchell, last week’s winner, was the closest American finishing tied for 6th.

Kirk Triplett won the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach Country Club in California on the PGA Tour Champions against Woody Austin with an eagle on the second playoff hole.

South African Justin Harding won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club.

Did you hear the roars for Rory on St. Patricks Day coming from TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium course when he captured the 2019 Players Championship. A shout out to Ponte Vedra Beach resident Jim Furyk for taking solo second at age 48. Armed with a M5 driver, TP5 golf ball and a Spider X putter, Team TaylorMade’s latest champion, “Big Mac” McIlroy, finished 16 under against the strongest field in golf.

Kelly Tan from Malaysia won Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Rees Jones redesigned Country Club of Winter Haven March 17th on the Symetra Tour, the road to the LPGA.

Englishman Paul Casey went back to back at Innisbrook Resort & Spa’s Copperhead course holding on to the lead to secure his 3rd PGA Tour win. The 41-year old snake-charmer used TaylorMade woods, Mizuno irons, Vokey wedges and a Titlist ProV1 ball to be the first to repeat at the Valspar Championship, In another note, Sherwin Williams, the parent company, has renewed its title sponsorship of the Valspar Championship through 2025. This concludes the Florida Swing where millions of dollars make their way back to local charities in the participating communities.

Twenty-three old South Korean Jin Young Ko won the LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup on the Wildfire Golf Club at the J W Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, Arizona holding off the Korda sisters who tied for second against the Rolex Rookie of 2018. This is also her 3rd win on the LPGA Tour.

Another uptrend for Golf: Retail sales were up 8% from 2017 in 2018. As far as club sales, entry level low priced clubs led the pack, which could suggest new players are buying new clubs. This percentage does not even consider the ebay sales of used clubs which is an ever growing market. The overall message…golf is a growing entity in the economy and should continue, barring any economic problems.

I love the game of golf and am happy to be a part of a business that is both socially appealing, inclusive and gives back so much to charities throughout the world. I find it remarkable that although these winning athletes earn extravagant amounts of money these tournaments are still able to impact so many varied local non-profit entities. Go Play- It is a Great Day!

David J. Daubert – Editor

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