Being caught up in some miserable weather in Spain recently afforded me the time to catch up with what has been going on in the world of golf via the Internet - including a fictitious toothache in Florida that gained more attention than it deserved.
One fact I stumbled upon was an ‘Economic Impact of Golf on the Economy of Europe’ – commissioned by the PGA and produced by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc, claiming that the total value of European Golf is a whopping €15.1 billion - far outstripping the cost of staging the 2012 London Olympics.
I also read that the construction work on Rio’s Olympic Course should have commenced six months ago but a dispute over ownership of the site that will host Golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016 remains unresolved. Gil Hanse, the course designer, is very concerned. He must be right up against the deadline now. ‘Plan B’ may have to be unfurled and one of Rio’s established facilities may have to suffice. Not a very auspicious development.
NEW TIGER, OLD TIGER
The ‘new’ Tiger is looking very like the ‘old’ Tiger. His dominance of the ‘Blue Monster’ demonstrated that the only aspect of Tiger’s game that will prevent him from winning at least two major tournaments this year is his unreliable driving. If he manages to keep his ball on the fairways at Augusta, Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill this summer, Tiger will be a very hard man to beat. That’s something I would not have predicted two years ago.
Rory McIlroy plays with the same Nike clubs as An Tadhger but the switching of the ball he plays with is at least as traumatic a change that is overlooked. Another aspect of Rory’s Nike makeover is the shoe he now wears. Nike shoes are ‘too flimsy’ for golf, in my opinion. One wonders if they caused or exacerbated Paul Casey’s foot troubles?
Recently, Nike eliminated the stud underneath the big toe, which may be significant. But, we will have to wait and see. Ben Hogan used to nail an extra stud in his shoes. Modern shoemakers are not only taking a stud out, but some make golf shoes without studs altogether.
FULL MARKS TO G-MAC
It’s nice to read about a top golfer who freely gives of his time and money for a worthy cause.
There could hardly be a cause more worthy than Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Someone who has virtually everything and gives his money, consideration and time to those with nothing is admirable. Full marks to Graeme McDowell! Without G-Mac’s inputs, Surgeon Colin McMahon says that Crumlin Hospital would be in a far bigger ‘mess’ than it is.
A LIMERICK MAN IN GHANA
A young Limerick man, Tom Kennedy, has been appointed Director of Golf in Ghana. Tom will be responsible for overseeing teaching programmes and the growth and development of the game through the marketing of corporate and ordinary memberships in Golf Clubs and also be the organizer of a tournament sanctioned by the R & A.
BIG WIN FOR SERGIO
I’m not a fan of Sergio Garcia but do applaud his latest victory, which took place off the golf course and may have wide repercussions. In a legal battle with the Revenue, Garcia was awarded a favorable ruling in a US tax court. The crux of the case was $1.7 million in taxes that the IRS demanded in 2004 based on earnings from TaylorMade.
Garcia argued that the money was from royalties based on the use of his likeness in advertising campaigns and, as he was living in Switzerland at the time – a country that spares any royalty income of its residents from US taxes – he was exempt. The court awarded Garcia a 65/35% split in the ruling, meaning the majority of the income in question was deemed as royalties because Garcia was TaylorMade’s only “global icon” at the time in question and there was “strong evidence that his TaylorMade endorsement agreement was more heavily weighted toward image rights.”
Based on this ruling in future golfers will be signing contracts, which pay them more in royalty fees because they seem to be more difficult to value for tax purposes.
At the Leinster GUI Annual Delegates Meeting it was announced that Leinster Golf would issue a Questionnaire to all of its members with the aim of producing a Strategic Plan. As a mythical member of a mythical club in Leinster I did the anonymous on-line survey, which in my view should be held in all of the provinces.
It was a very interesting exercise. My answers were (typically) frank and I hope, fair and helpful. I hope my comments are heeded about all of the GUI Branches taking a tougher stance on handicap cheaters and making stronger representations to the R & A about the future of golf being damaged by modern equipment, which causes courses to be lengthened excessively, with the result that maintenance costs increase exponentially and 18 holes takes too long to play.
Words of the Wise
Golf is a game of quality misses. It’s a game of turning three shots into two and it is easier to learn how to do it by playing 18 holes more often on different courses than ely practicing.