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Eavesdropping On Rory And Tiger: Were They Aware They Could Be Heard?

Mind you, I'm not complaining. But since the streaming feed of the Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods "Duel at Jinsha Lake" wasn't streaming, I never heard any of the banter.

Thankfully, Ryan Lavner did, and recounts all of it.

The most awkward revelations:

On the 10th hole, Woods admitted to “struggling with Sean (Foley),” his swing coach, saying, “I’ve been hitting my short irons so (expletive) far.” He went on to explain how he rarely took a divot with his short clubs under former coach Hank Haney, but now, though, “all of a sudden, I’m thinking divots.”

Whoa Nellie!

Woods said he lost eight pounds last week in Kuala Lumpur, and that the heat was so suffocating, “it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I had sweat dripping off my shirt when I was over the ball.” Apparently, he also lost his pin sheet on Saturday, which could help explain the third-round 69 that dropped him off the pace. (He eventually finished joint fourth.)

They couldn't get him a replacement pin sheet?

They talked scheduling. Woods noted that this was his first full season since 2005; that he likely will dial back his number of events next season; and that, post-British Open, U.S. players are plenty busy – maybe even too busy – with the FedEx Cup and all of the late-season jet-setting.

Problems, problems, problems!

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Reader Comments (47)

Would giving a replacement pin sheet be construed as giving help /advice during a competitive round (by someone other than caddie)?
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVin
Probably not. The pin sheet is "public information," which is not "advice." I think ;-) but I haven't studied my definitions lately.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Will be interesting to see the adjustment for Rory once he switches to lesser equiptment(Nike) for the 2013 season. And by Nike I mean an(insert iron here) masked with a Nike swoosh.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeeWatson
Not good for Joe
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaboy
Spot on KLG.
No problem borrowing one or having a new one sent out to him.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Where is this "lesser equipment" thesis emanating from? Does this mean Tiger would already be at 18 majors if he had the real good stuff?

Everything in Rory's bag is custom regardless of the name stamped on it and every single pro line manufacturer is perfectly capable of producing clubs to suit him. Is there any credible proof to the contrary?

Not saying it won't happen but if Nike pays Rory $25mm per annum, I'd be pissed if I were a shareholder -- he ain't worth it.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@DTF: Rory is well worth 25mil/yr to a company with the marketing wherewithal of NIKE. Against their yearly profits vs global marketing expenses...In budgeting terms, it would be akin to adding an extra couple of deck-chairs to the Queen Mary.

My 0.02$ on the Nike deal...IF they finally get a legitimate shot at signing him, then they are obligated to put out a competitive bid like in any other business. Now, should Rory choose to step down a level or two in terms of club performance/acceptance (going by the Darrell Survey here folks...don't kill the messenger) then that is entirely up to him.

Personally, if I ever got to that level (yeah right)/....I would play whatever the F**k I want to play and stamp em with whatever company is willing to pay the most.

As for the actual article/url:

HA!!!!...I knew it. The secret can be usually be found in the dirt. It is no big secret that Tiger's Texas sized divots are not a good sign technically speaking. His scoring iron beaver-pelts rival those of Andy Bean, Mark McCumber, Charlie Howell da 'Thurd, etc....Not exactly players who've had historic careers or long stays at the top.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
@DTF" Lesser equipment you ask? All you have to do is check out the Darrell Survey. In terms of use, despite Nike's deep pockets, they aren't exactly cracking the top 2 or 3 that often...Titleist on the other hand...well, all you have to do is look at the number of stuff they have in play. The renewed focus on making clubs for "better players" during the past 10 years has payed off. Maybe not THE BEST stuff out there, bit overall, they do alot of things very very well and make classic looking golf implements that work.

As for the article itself. They ran around in 3:15?!...that's a pretty impressive dollar-to-hole-hours ratio...well done boys!

Tiger mentioned his giant divot issue with scoring clubs to Rory...he actually might be mellowing out....but as a competitor/professional, that's something one should keep close to the vest for a number of reasons.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
johnny, do you know how much gross sales are in the golf division at Nike?
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"...obligated to put out a bid..."
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"Not exactly players who've had historic careers or long stays at the top."

My man, what the heck are you talking about?!?
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I wish one of them had told a George Brett in Vegas style of story.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
Tiger didn't used to take divots with his short irons? That's news to me.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
I attended a few of the TWF clinics.
I was shocked at his wedges. Literally hit about 17 or 18 shots that
just clipped the grass. Hit the all from the same basic spot.
I was pretty amazed and surprised at how shallow he was
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
Here is a Tiger wedge shot that seemed typical (on course):

Feel free to mute the sound!
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
The Cat obviously knew he was Mic'd up but still insisted on dropping F Bombs. Just as he spits on Greens and tees in front of fans including Kids. hes a Grub and has no manners or respect for the fans or the game. Be happy to see the back of him for good !
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Never saw the Bear spitting, Never saw Hogan spitting and throwing a club intio the crowd, never saw Byron dropping F Bombs, never saw Snead spitting, never saw Player fing and blinding and throwing clubs. Never saw Tom Watson hurling big spits in front of kids and saying F this and F that. Tiger we are over you, learn some manners or disappear as qickly as possible
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Whoa. I thought my 1st reply to DTF got lost in cyberspace or was swatted away a moderator...then it re-appeared when I woke up.

DTF: How much did Nike's golf div rake in last year? Who cares when they had sales over 20 BILLION and billions in worldwide profits. 25mil/year for one of the highest Q rated athletes on the planet is worth the money and they are willing to spend it. Nike is not shy going after top athletes.

As for the divot comment...agree with other posters that Tiger used to take perfect clips of turf. I watched him at Quail Hollow one year and was shocked at how pure he was hitting his scoring clubs. They were landing exactly where he wanted em and trajectory control was scary good. He's really thumping out divots/de-lofting the club excessively these days though (a good players fault) and that to me can not be helping him get to where he wants to be...holding a major trophy again.

The players/divot gougers I mentioned all had a nice run and are fine players, but they kinda burned out after a while despite showing promises of being one of the top for awhile. All were Ryder Cuppers at one point. Good players all three, but they were one-dimensional in their shot-making skills...steep angles of attack all of them.

'To hit it accurately, one must have control of trajectory...without trajectory, accuracy is impossible' is how Hogan put it.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
@Matt: Neat youtube vid, cool music, nice swing, etc. Thanks for that...alas, it's from 5 years ago (2007) and 3 yrs before he hooked up with Foley (2010 PGA). I more than agree he was in control of his money clubs....back then...nowadays, not so much.

The proof is in the dirt where the clubface tells the ball what to do...but then I just saw a piece in GD about how hitting DOWN on the ball with the driver is the "new" way to go...according to you know who's coach. Sorry, but I will never agree with that...ever.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Johnny, shareholders care. This is a publicly owned company, rules are different.

The answer is $650 million. About 50% of Acushnet sales.

So, how much profit do you think they generate on $650 million in golf related sales?
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF: OK, I can see your argument, thanks for the civil tone, some folks love to throw mud.

I admit/recognize that Nike is not a big player in terms of GOLF stuff sold. Now, without researching their annual statements in minute detail, I am fairly confident that the accounting brainiacs employed in Beaverton will be able to "move some dollars" from one business unit to another to make this happen...especially since Lance's annual stipends have ended.

Come you really believe a far east sweatshop pioneering firm like Nike isn't able to get the money one way or another? With all the economic boondoggles going on everywhere, we would be naive to think a giant company with dominant market share all over the world is unable to come up with the money...personally, methinks if it happens, it will be "a MAX of 250mil over 5" years providing Rory keeps winning at his current clip.

(relative side note: when talking about Nike's WHOLE product line up in all sports they're involved in, and the way they like to move into new sports...Nike recently gobbled up 3 or 4 TOP snowboard pros to use their boots and soft goods exclusively...which are pretty flashy, but have received so-so reviews from many folks who write about this stuff. However, the young kiddie "weekend warrior trendies" keep on asking for them despite knowledgeable people pointing out the end products are over-priced and lacking features standard in prominent brands like Burton, DC, Salomon, etc. The shop owner here in CZ HATES the fact he has to order more and more Nike stuff each year, but they just spent their way into the sport, spreading money on problems can work for giant sport entities...phew...I'll stop digressing)

IMO, Nike shareholders might be upset should Rory stay with Acushnet and goes on a Tiger-esque run in the majors over the next few years. They need another up and coming star badly....AK isn't going to pan out and aside from him I can't think of another high profile young stud who can fill out their marketing/endorser portfolio who's playing their stuff.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Rory is about more than selling clubs though - he is about the entire "brand". Nike wasn't paying Lance to sell bicycles.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
@Johnny. Sergio is living proof.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
Hogan threw clubs and cursed. There just wasn't a microphone or video camera following him 24 7.

"When the News Arrived" by Hebert Warren Wind 6/27/1955

Hogan drew on his jacket, reached into his locker and took out his clubs and threw them on the floor. "Anybody want a club cover?" he asked affably. Before anyone could answer, a new informant rushed in. "Ben, Fleck's got an eight-foot putt to tie!" Hogan relaxed. No one could think of anything to say for a moment......... The group fell silent. Then it came: a tremendous roar of the gallery at the 18th. A reporter whispered hoarsely: "The kid's sunk it!" Ben Hogan's head went down and he cursed softly. Then he lifted his head and looked around at them all. "I was wishing he'd either make a two or a five," he said. "I was wishing it was over—all over." He turned to an attendant, indicated his clubs and sighed. "Well, we might as well git those things back in the locker. Gotta play tomorrow, looks like."
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commentergimme a break
Nike has never made bicycles tighthead...if they did, Lance would've been hawking them like a snake oil salesman dressed head to toe in swooshes. Just sayin
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
That is exactly my point. If Nike signs Rory, it is about more than golf clubs. Same with Tiger.

That hitting down on the driver concept freaks me out, as a guy who struggles with a low ball flight. It seems to make the ball "squirt".
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
You mean I'm not supposed to hit down on my driver and make it squirt into the trees on the right? That explains it.

As for Nike, I just looked up their stock price history since 1987. Phil Knight seems to know what his is doing, except for the Oregon Ducks football uniforms.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Tighthead, they absolutely were paying Lance to sell bicycling gear. If Nike were not in that line of business Lance would never have had a contract with them. And in terms of global recognition and visibility, Rory's a nice kid and all, but he ain't no Lance Armstrng!

The ultimate underlying premise for Nike to seek endorsements from athletes is to promote sales - simple as that.

When Acushnet last posted publicly available financial results they were bouncing around between $80 million and $120 million of profits on $1.2-1.3. billion in sales -- so let's call it $100 million for the sake of this discussion. If Nike's margins are similar (and it would probably be safe to assume they are actually lower) their profits on $650 million in sales would be about $50 million.

Now if I'm a shareholder, those profits are mine. So this rumor of $25 million per for 10 years starts up, as a shareholder I'm thinking "you're seriously proposing to pay 50% of golf division profits to a single player not named Tiger Woods"?

Why? How will this increase overall profitability for Nike? Because if it won't increase profitability, you shouldn't be doing it.

If i am the manager of the golf division my bosses, the board, and shareholders, expect me to increase sales, and profitability. Will paying Rory $25 million accomplish both goals? Keep in mind that I'm wiping out 50% of existing profits to sign him up.

As stated before, Rory's a nice kid and all but he's just not going to move the needle on sales enough commit $250 million -- hell, that's likely more than a half decade of profits! No way I can justify that as the manager of the golf division.

Now, if the phone rings in my office and it's Phil Knight and he says "Del, I'm gonna sign this kid and we are going to take the $250 million out of the overall ad budget and it won't affect your P&L"....well, I can't keep Phil from doing what he wants but then I've got another problem.

How do I keep Tiger happy?

Given all the water over the dam with Tiger I'm thinking I can get him to sign his next deal for a lot less than the last one...if Phil gives Rory that deal I'm gonna have to match it to keep Tiger.

Having said all that, managers at publicly traded companies routinely make really stupid deals that enrich themselves and their friends to the detriment of shareholders -- if this deal goes down it would just be another example of that type of behaviour.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ky, think Phil believes he cut a good deal with Michelle Wie?
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I said bicycles.

Were they paying him to sell bicycling gear exclusively? I say no. They wanted to be associated with him.

Am I that off the beam to suggest that certain athletes transcend their sport? Anyone clue me in here?

Nike is gambling that Rory will be a star beyone golf. I don't know if I like that gamble.

How do you know the endorsement contract is paid out of the "golf division"? That seems like an assumption.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
I'm going to go out on a really solid limb, and say the reported Rory numbers (10/250) are high. I'd guess maybe 20/yr at top end. And remember as much as they'd like to increase sales in the US, they are really focused on the brand in Asia

Side note: Tiger has been saying all year he's having issues bc hitting wedges further (even in press conf's). I think (but can't confirm) that he and Sean both want him to take shallower divots on wedge. I would guess this is what he's planning on putting his work into in the off season.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Tighthead, if I were running the tennis division why would I agree to shoulder any of Rory's contract?

Everyone in the world already knows who Nike is. Signing Rory would have one purpose, sell golf related merchandise.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Del we just disagree.

I believe that having dominant athletes associated with the Nike brand helps sell shoes, bags, sweatshirts etc.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTight head
@Del: Regarding Michelle Wie, not as it turned out. But what he gave her amounts to pocket change, and she isn't finished. Sometimes the business deal, or the experiment, just doesn't work. But it's hard to know in advance. Personally, I used to have a closet full of Nike shoes and have kept a pair of original Waffle Trainers just for giggles. But I haven't bought one Nike item since a particularly egregious commercial that ran in the first Tiger deluge in the fall of 1996.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
What the heck? I tried to post a somewhat longish post.

Anyways, here's the gist. Nike in the past few years has been aggressively making inroads into other sports that are youth orientated...think snowboarding, skateboarding, biking of all kinds...mainly through soft goods sponsorships, but they require their paid superstars to prominently display the ole swoosh. 3 or 4 TOP pro snowboarders are now endorsing Nike boots, but the talk from folks who know alot more about tech in that field say the boots are "ok" and have room for improvement in durability, and functionality for a number of reasons...but they look bright and shiny. The local board shop owner here tells me he HATES having to order more and more of the overpriced stuff, but the weekend warrior trendies keep on asking for em....despite his staff pointing out the deficiencies.

Nike will be able to move whatever money they need, it wouldn't surprise me if their endorsement budget came out of the general athletic clothing division....LOTS of bucks there I'd imagine.

Besides, Nike needs to stock up on some young golfing bucks...AK hasn't panned out, Wie is...well...whatever.

Nike will do what it takes to let their target market see the swoosh as often as's in their pioneering sweatshop entrepreneur blood folks.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Nike has a long history of wanting to have the best athletes in all sports, period. They have Nadal and Federer in tennis. They have MJ and Kobe and LBJ. They had Tiger and Duval. It goes beyond hardware, they market their company as being what the best athletes use, so they collect the best athletes.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Tighthead, yes we do. To me the Nike swoosh and brand are so pervasive and mature that I just don't see how adding Rory improves those items in any measurable fashion. Nor do I believe anyone will buy Nike running shoes or lacrosse gear because of Rory. So it goes back to many golf shirts/shoes/clubs will Rory sell for Nike. Will definitely sell some, but not enough to warrant a $250,000,000 endorsement contract -- at least not I'm my opinion!

If Rory gets $250,000, much should Tiger get?

Ky, I'm a fan of Michelle Wie, just pointing out that even Phil Knight doesn't bat 1.000. elf points out Duval, another horrendous endorsement deal for Nike! Ditto AK. Ditto Paul Casey. Etc...

I bet Wally Uihlein is having a very hearty laugh about this $250,000,000 number that's being tossed around!!!
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If Rory really does get 10/250 I'd be surprised. That being said if they are his only sponsor that makes slightly more sense. Tiger (and AK) have separate bag deals (and Tiger has always had other sponsors).
10.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I've seen 350 pound men walking around in Livestrong sneakers.

It may not be about increasing, but maintaining. Lance is gone, Tiger is perhaps on the wane. As elf says, Nike wants dominant athletes and personalities in their stable.

Del, I imagine we disagree on this, but people may not buy Nike sneakers because of Rory, but they will buy them because they are seen as cool/successful. Nobody wants to shave like Tiger Woods, but Gillette et al wanted to be connected with his image of success.

Guy barely has whiskers and got a razor deal.
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
Tighthead, if you had to go on that show Shark Tank and pitch the deal to Mark Cuban and the rest of them....

...what's your pitch?

"Well, the guy is really I cannot quantify the impact on sales or profitability.....but the guy really is super lets pay him $250,000,000....whadya say Mark?"

Something like that? Think it would fly?
10.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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