Golf needs another Tiger

The golf world is in trouble. Sales of major brands are way down. The number of people who play the game continues to drop. New courses? Here’s a sad fact: there were a grand total of 14 new courses opened in the U.S. last year. Combine that with 160 courses that closed their doors and the downward spiral is in full swing.

What’s the problem? Actually there are quite a few.

It takes a long time to play 18 holes. Five hour rounds are about normal on public courses unless you play early or late in the day. Add in the travel time to get to the course and it’s almost like a work day. With everyone’s schedule in a constant state of being overbooked, it’s tough to fit in a round of golf.

Golf is an expensive game. Green fees have dropped a bit over the past few years because demand has dropped but it’s still a chunk of change. And when you factor in losing a few balls during the round and having a lunch and a beverage (or two), you’re dropping about $50 bucks each time you play.

Golf is a tough game to play. It’s hard to be good. It takes time to practice and you can really only get better if you practice a fair amount and that takes time – and money.

You can’t just go to a driving range and wail away, either. You have to work on specific aspects of your game. I’m not a very good short game player (just ask anyone who’s played with me). Last night, I was at the range for more than an hour and all I hit were nine irons, wedges, gap wedges and sand wedges. The result of all those shots? I need professional help.

I need some short game lessons. But that will take time. And money. And commitment.

Which leads to another problem. There aren’t enough young kids being attracted to the game. Because it takes time and money and commitment.

They see the game played on TV and it looks easy. They try it for themselves and they discover it’s not. So they give up.

Even golf video games aren’t that much fun to play and from what I’ve seen, those are tougher to master than FIFA or Madden or MLB The Show.

And who can EA Sports call on to be the big seller for golf video games?

Certainly not Tiger. Tiger is past tense. Tiger is past his prime. Tiger may never win another major. If his back doesn’t rebound, Tiger may never even return to the PGA Tour.

That’s got to be frightening. For quite a few years, the PGA was living and growing courtesy of Tiger Woods. His downfall has been the downfall of the PGA. It’s been a major blow to Nike and their golf ambitions.

And there is no one on the horizon ready to step up and ignite the golf world again.

Jordan Spieth? Great guy. Great golfer. Full of potential. But he’s not a Tiger.

Tiger Woods was brash. He was young. He was an ethnic mix with universal appeal. He was a risk taker on the course. He was fearless and he’d let his emotions show. He was great to root for or against – either way, you wanted to see what he’d do.

His Tiger Woods Foundation helped bring golf to the inner city. He made the game popular and made kids dream about growing up to be the next Tiger Woods.

Then that dream got shattered.

And there’s nobody next in line.

Golf needs another Tiger.

Let’s sell some beer

Remember the days when Bud Light used to roll out commercials that would make you laugh? And then two or three weeks later, they’d roll out another one?

Now we get Ian, the guy who gets kidnapped and taken on an adventure that’s broken up into about five parts that’s played over and over and over again.

The first time I saw Arnold playing ping-pong it was surprising. Not so much on the 17th viewing.

Here’s a link to some classic Bud Light commercials ttp://

Spend a few minutes watching them and you’ll long for the days when there was humor in TV commercials. I’m not sure what the current market share is for Bud Light. I wonder how many people are bothering to buy the bottle with the twist off cap. That commercial airs about six or seven times on every Cardinals telecast. All it does for me is make me think that if the beer isn’t good enough to drink in one setting, why would I want to bother to cap it off and drink it later?

Budweiser commercials seem to have knocked Bud Light to the back seat – at least from production levels. The recent Bud spot promoting the World Cup is extremely well done – but it might as well have been for Adidas because there’s very little correlation to World Cup soccer and Budweiser, especially in this commercial.

Budweiser Black Crown? I have yet to attend a party where everyone wears all black and dances on a 40-foot long table. I know I’m no longer in the right demographic but I’m not real sure what the demographic is for that Bud brand.

I do like the Bud commercial with the Major League baseball tie-in. The scene at the end of the commercial where the guy is walking into the stadium and we see it’s Busch Stadium is well done. I hope they’ve done that version of the spot for every ball park. If they have, that’s smart marketing. A toast to that one.

Other than that, I think A-B InBev has gotten way off track. They continue to try and introduce spin-offs or variations versus sticking to the tried and true.

Maybe their market research says the tried and true doesn’t work anymore. Or maybe TV advertising is simply no longer where it’s at when it comes to selling beer and everything needs to be experiential – sponsor major parties, do giveaways, generate trial. I know that all needs to be part of the equation and today it probably plays a larger role than ever before.

The Super Bowl is great for launching major campaigns and breaking out the Clydesdales and TV is a major star that can’t be beat in that regard. But when it comes down to what do you run on a Tuesday night for a local Cardinals Fox Sports telecast, we get to see a cap twisting off a bottle multiple times.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

Please A-B InBev – refresh thy brands.



Be careful what you say

Ah, the power of today’s media.

Always looking for a story. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Scandal. Natural disaster. Terrorism. Killing sprees.

“Feed me,” says the media machine.

Then milk the event or the happenings or the circumstances for all they’re worth. Interview everyone even remotely associated with the story to find out why.

Give that story a clever title so it can be quickly capsulized and turned into a sound bite.

Yes, I’m talking about Donald Sterling and his over-the-top racist remarks to V. Stiviano – who just so happened to record the conversation that has earned Mr. Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA and resulted in a $2.5 million dollar fine, which, in Mr. Sterling’s world, doesn’t seem all that consequential.

But the ban was big news. Front page news in probably every paper in every city throughout the country.

ESPN has been having a field day with it, giving it more coverage than a Yankees-Red Sox series.

It certainly seemed well-deserved and having read the transcripts from TMZ, there is no doubt that Donald’s world-view is severely twisted.

All along, I’ve been wondering two things.

1. Who gave the tape to TMZ?

2. And why?

According to the attorney for V. Stiviano, even though she was the person who was recording the conversation, she’s not the one who turned it over and she is devastated that the tape has been released.                                        (,0,7230834.story#axzz30Q5sRypt)

The other interesting thing is that their conversation took place in September.

September? And this is the end of April?

So somebody had this damaging, controversial tape and sat on it for eight months and decided to release it right smack in the middle of the Clippers first round playoff appearance, creating a shock wave throughout the NBA that could have led to a boycott of games had new commissioner Adam Silver not stepped up his game and banned Sterling?

Is there any coincidence to the fact that Donald’s wife, Rochelle, filed a lawsuit against Ms. Stiviano in March of this year in an effort to reclaim a $1.8 million dollar apartment, several luxury autos and cash that Donald apparently gave her out of the kindness of his heart? Because according to V. Stiviano’s attorney, there was no romantic or sexual relationship between the two.

Obviously, there is a lot more to the story than what we’re being fed.

I totally agree that Mr. Sterling’s remarks were an outrage.

I don’t doubt he made those remarks and I’m certainly not upset that he was fined and banned – I had never even heard of him before Friday.

Now he’s probably going to have to sell his team. Poor man – he only stands to make about half a billion on the sale.

But I do want to know who leaked the tape. I want to know if that person is going to be paid considerably more by somebody than they were paid by TMZ.

The media owes it to us to dig deeper.

Enquiring minds want to know.

So before they move on to the next crisis, (which I’m sure is just around the corner), perhaps we can find out if somebody had something to gain by going public with Sterling’s comments and what exactly that gain was all about.

In the meantime, it’s a good reminder to all of us.

Be careful what you say.

It might come back to haunt you.