A few interesting things in recent golf news …
First, golf retailer Edwin Watts has filed for bankruptcy protection. The big-box retailer operated 90 stores, mostly in the Southeast US. In the court filing, Edwin Watts management blames increasing competition and declining interest in the sport for their woes. A court supervised sale of assets is schedule, however, the company says that a “significant number” of stores will remain open. I wonder if conditions dictate that other big box golf retailers soon will follow or if this is just a case of mismanagement.
Fox Sports apparently is still looking for a lead producer to handle its new USGA television deal. Geoff Shackelford reports that at least three NBC/Golf Channel talents have turned down the job, as well as an MLB producer. It seems to me that the USGA should have inquired about Fox’s ability to actually produce a golf tournament before they ditched long-time partner NBC.
The PGA Tour is further expanding its international reach by partnering with a new professional golf tour in China. The PGA TOUR China starts in March 2014 and will have 12 events with purses of about $200,000. At least some of the top finishers will have access to the Web.Com Tour. This deal puts the PGA Tour in Canada, Latin America and now Asia. My prediction is that all of the world’s golf tours will eventually fall under the PGA Tour umbrella.
Finally, the PGA Championship may periodically be played at an overseas venue, according to Doug Ferguson. I think it’s a great idea that would give the PGA the identity it has been lacking since it ditched the match play format. Golf now is an international game, and a once-every-three-or-four-years overseas tournament could really bring some excitement. The sticking point is of course, television for the American audience. I wonder, however, if the PGA could strike a deal with European or Asian media that would make up for that. China is a huge golf market, and putting a Major there surely would bring enormous revenues.