Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Phil and Tiger Compete on the Charity Front Too

Without the great fanfare that came with the world’s number one golfer announcing his Tiger Woods Learning Center, the world’s number two golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy have partnered with ExxonMobil to support a teacher training program called the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, which wrapped up the last of it's 2007 sessions in July.

Although modest in comparison to the Tiger Woods effort, the academy has grown to include three sessions this year -- two regional academies in Texas and Louisiana, and the national academy in Fairfax, Va. -- up from one in 2005, its first year. A total of 600 teachers attended the three academies. Each academy had the same goal: to train third- through fifth-grade teachers with new strategies and philosophies to keep kids interested in the sciences.

Even off the course in the charitable world, Tiger and Phil compete with each other. In this competition, Tiger is directing his efforts to students and Phil toward teachers. Still, both are concentrating on the precipitous drop in math and science scores occuring in the United States. It’s nice to see Phil supporting such a good cause.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who Wants to Own a Golf Equipment Company?

I wouldn't.

Golf equipment isn't a very good investment these days. Look at Callaway. It's stock has dropped 20% since July ($15.71 vs. $19.49), Golfsmith has faired even worse crash-diving 47% ($5.77 vs $10.95).

Two articles came to my attention on the golf equipment business recently: Cleveland Sale Appears Imminent and Huffy Corporation Sells Tommy Armour. Both appeared in GolfWeek Business. For leveraged buyout groups like the one that is selling Cleveland and the sporting goods conglomerate that is unloading Tommy Armour, golf isn't fitting into their idea of making a profit.

Quicksilver, the current owner of Cleveland because of its acquisition of Rossignol skis in 2005, wants to dump it because the parent took its first annual loss in 15 years. Huffy, which acquired Tommy Armour, TearDrop, Ram, and Zebra when it purchased extreme sports manufacturer Gen X in 2002, later emerged from bankruptcy in 2005 and no longer thought golf fit into its future plans. Rumors are that Cleveland could be a TaylorMadeAdidas target, but nothing is official.

Last year it was sporting good retailers consolidating. Is 2007 the year for golf equipment manufacturers?

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