"Landmark agreement that makes American Express the USGA’s first corporate partner in the Association’s 112-year history."

From that classy gang in Far Hills (hey, Barry Hyde finally did something!):


Relationship Will Enhance the USGA’s Mission for the Good of the Game

No, I'm not making this up. Just go to the website if you don't believe me. And love the big AmEx logo on he home page today.

American Express Cardmembers Gain Full Access to the Golf Lifestyle Now With Exclusive Trophy Club Ticket Packages for 2007 U.S. Open® and Beyond

New York, NY and Far Hills, NJ (December 4, 2006) – American Express and the United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced a landmark agreement that makes American Express the USGA’s first corporate partner in the Association’s 112-year history.  The multi-year agreement strengthens American Express’ association with the game of golf by bringing a premium level of customer service and unique benefits and experiences to Cardmembers and golf enthusiasts.  In addition, this agreement will allow the USGA to broaden its communication with golfers.

Love that last line.  Yeah, they get their logos on ads, like the full pager in today's L.A. Times. That's broadening its communication...

Beginning December 4, Cardmembers will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase daily or weekly otherwise sold-out Trophy Club tickets to the 2007 U.S. Open® at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.  American Express will also deliver benefits to Cardmembers across a broad range of golf experiences.  These experiences will include exclusive access to some of the USGA’s championships, exclusive access to play U.S. Open® courses, past and present, on select USGA-hosted days and a variety of benefits to enhance the enjoyment of the game.  

I bet the members at some of those courses past and present are looking forward to hearing about the access they've sold to AmEx cardholders.

Okay, it's quote time.

“American Express is thrilled to be the first corporate partner of the USGA, the national governing body for the sport of golf,” said Jud Linville, President of the Consumer Card Services Group, American Express.  “This relationship is just one of the many ways we bring special access and experiences to our Cardmembers in the world of golf and across all of their passions, and we’re thrilled to offer them Trophy Club tickets to the 2007 U.S. Open®, an event which has sold out every year for the last 20 years. Today is just the beginning of this great relationship and we look forward to working with the USGA to continue to bring our Cardmembers exceptional access to the golf lifestyle as well as increase awareness of all that the USGA has to offer.”

Access to the golf lifestyle. Hmmm...not one platform mention.

“We are very pleased to announce this new agreement with American Express, a company whose programs and values we’ve admired for a long time,” USGA President, Walter W. Driver Jr. said. 

What values would those be? 

“We believe this partnership will allow us to reach more golfers and make them more aware of our many programs that benefit their golf game.  For example, we want more golfers to have a USGA Handicap Index®, know the Rules of Golf, join our Members Program, and abide by and appreciate the game’s etiquette and traditions.  We believe that American Express is well positioned to help us make such outreach programs a success.”

Oh please.

While attendees can expect an enhanced experience, corporate signage displayed on the grounds at the U.S. Open® will remain limited, as it has been in the past.

Will remain limited? Uh, as far as I know there hasn't been any corporate signage. Will this be changing?
In a list of "benefits" for cardholders, this caught my eye...

·          Access to the USGA’s collection of golf memorabilia and content, for example private tours of the USGA museum and private rules seminars

Maybe they can actually photocopy stuff from old magazines, since no one else can?

Yes, it's a landmark day.

Anyone else see this as the prelude to the 2008 U.S. Open Presented by American Express?