Golf Street Notebook // Week 22 - 2020

The Match II on May 24 at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., drew an average of 5.8 million viewers, according to Turner Sports. The event, which paired Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, also reportedly raised $20 million for Covid-19 relief. It was cabled  across TBS, TNT, TruTV and HLN.

Despite heavy rains that delayed the start and a boring venue (The Medalist in Hobe Sound, Fl.), The Match II was better than I anticipated. Woods, Manning and Brady each showed their human sides and senses of humor. Mickelson, on the other hand, most of the time appeared as if he didn’t want to be there.

Although I doubt it, here’s hoping The Match II will be the final one of its kind. Golf and TV can only go to that well so often before it runs its course (pardon the pun).  The fact that TV had to add NFL superstars Manning and Brady tells you all you need to know about the drawing power of such events moving forward.

Tour Edge Golf founder and master club designer David Glod continues to create some of the industry’s better drivers and metal woods. The company today unveiled its new limited-edition Exotics EXS Pro Driver, EXS Pro Fairway Metal and EXS Pro Hybrid.

The EXS Pro series was originally designed as prototypes only inteevent anded for professional Tour players  

Tour Edge the past few years as developed a nice stable of Tour players, particularly on the Champions Tour, with players such as Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf and Scott McCarron.
Glod said feedback from those players and others on the Tour Edge professional staff  helped create the new Exotics series that features new shapes, forward tour-level CG positioning and technology never-before employed by Tour Edge.

This EXS Pro series includes some carry-over tech from Tour Edge’s Exotics EXS 220 and EXS line of clubs that launched earlier this year.

The EXS Pro Driver ($399.99) features what Tour Edge says is a new adjustable sliding weight FlightTrack technology, Diamond Face and Sound Diffusion Bar innovations that helped the Exotics EXS 220 Driver become one of the most played new drivers on the 2020 PGA Tour Champions. The new FlightTrack weight system, according to the company, can be easily set to draw, straight and/or fade biased positions.

The EXS Pro series, available June 1, will range from $249.99 for the EXS Pro Hybrid, $299.99 for the EXS Pro Fairway Metals and $399.99 for the EXS Pro Driver.

When it returns to play next month, the PGA Tour plans to use chartered flights to transport its players and caddies from tournament to tournament.

In a memo sent to players, the Tour said the “use [of the charter flights] by players and caddies is strongly encouraged,” and that players will be required to take a COVID-19 saliva test prior to boarding the flight.
The Tour said that, “only players who test negative for the Coronavirus will be allowed to board the flight, with no exceptions.”

Yeah, right. Given how much Tour players whine and are coddled, I’m guessing that “exceptions’’ will be made sooner rather than later.

In what probably is a “Hail Mary’’ pass, SureShot Golf Ventures, Inc., has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Topgolf International Inc. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Houston, accuses TopGolf of monopolizing the market for golf entertainment facilities, particularly in regards to Protracer technology that Topgolf acquired in 2016.

The lawsuit basically is the continuation of antitrust litigation Sureshot began against Topgolf in January 2017. Sureshot lost that lawsuit and an appeal.

In a 20-page filing seeking treble damages, Sureshot’s new lawsuit alleges that Dallas-based Topgolf, upon hearing that a competitor (Sureshot) was entering the market with the benefits of better technology, Topgolf “used its position as a monopolist to acquire Protracer, who had until then, expressed its intention to remain vendor neutral.’’

Topgolf acquired Protracer in 2016. Sureshot alleges Topgolf used its “market power’’ to foreclose SureShot from entering the market by effectively cutting off the supply to SureShot of the Protracer technology upon which the SureShot model was built and based.

By acquiring Protracer (now called Toptracer), Sureshot alleges Topgolf “purposefully froze out’’ competition and “furthered its monopolization’’ of the market area.

Justin Rose, currently ranked No. 14 in the world, and equipment manufacturer Honma have parted ways. I wouldn’t expect Rose to get a big-money contract with another equipment company, although no doubt he will land somewhere.
Honma likely will out the savings on its growing custom-fitting business. The company recently opened a Honma Club Fitting Experience at Reunion Resort & Golf Club in Orlando.

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