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2021 Virtual PGA Merchandise Show kicks off today

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As all GolfWRXers well know, the PGA Merchandise Show is the veritable candy store in which we are annually all wide-eyed children.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 68th edition of “the major of the golf business” is a virtual one—and a tremendous amount of credit is due to the PGA of America and Reed Exhibitions for ensuring the show, indeed, will go on.

We at GolfWRX remain dedicated to scouring the floor of the convention center to bring you new and notable golf equipment—even if we’re trading in our comfortable shoes for computer screens.

We’ll bring you highlights of the show ala our “things we loved” and daily recaps of years past throughout the week, and we look forward to returning to the Orange Country Convention Center in 2022.

For more on the specifics of the virtual show, check out the full press release from the PGA below. 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2021) – The 2021 Virtual PGA Merchandise Show Week will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 26, with a special Product Preview & Launch Day to spotlight the latest merchandise and services of nearly 400 participating golf companies and brands. The 68th edition of the PGA Show transitions to a virtual event in 2021 to connect the international golf industry online, allowing PGA Professionals, golf buyers, manufacturers and industry leaders to drive forward the business of the game from the safety of their homes, facilities and workplaces during the ongoing global pandemic.

The PGA Show, organized by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the PGA of America, remains an industry-only event with complimentary industry registration and event details available at www.virtual.PGAShow.com.

Exhibitor Showrooms:
Nearly 400 participating golf companies and brands are staging robust exhibitor showrooms; presenting merchandise education sessions and video demonstrations; and hosting group and one-to-one buyer meetings. The virtual PGA Show marketplace features vetted new companies, as well as traditional market leaders and established manufacturers, including some of the most well-known brands in golf, such as Callaway Golf, FootJoy, Titleist, Cobra PUMA Golf, Bridgestone Golf, Cleveland/Srixon/XXIO, Mizuno and many more.

Product Preview & Launch Day:
The 2021 Virtual PGA Show Week begins on Tuesday, Jan. 26, with a special Product Preview & Launch Day to spotlight the latest merchandise and services of participating golf manufacturers. Several companies have special plans that day to present live and on-demand product launch events, including BioWave, Callaway Golf, Cobra Golf, DPP Golf, E-Z-GO, Focus Golf, Golf Ireland, Golf Skate Caddy, Golf Surprize, Homestretch Golf, Prestwick Golf Group, Range Servant America, True Score and TrackMan A/S.

Industry Programming:
A compelling schedule of live and on-demand industry presentations and valuable educational sessions also will be available to golf industry professionals, beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 27, through Friday, Jan. 29. All programming presented live during PGA Show Week will be made available on-demand beginning the next day, allowing attendees to view content and participate during times most convenient to their schedules.

Programming Highlights:
PGA of America Industry Presentations – Phil Mickelson, 2020 Ryder Cup Captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington, PGA Champion Collin Morikawa and CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz are among program speakers. The PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA, NGCOA and additional industry leaders also will present sessions on growth initiatives and pressing industry matters.

PGA Show Education Conference – Influential, national-level experts from the world of business, golf operations, teaching & coaching and retail will lead succinct education sessions delivering key tools, insights and valuable takeaways. PGA Professionals will have numerous MSR education credit opportunities through daily event participation and additional credits for each educational session. While access to the virtual marketplace and industry presentations are free of charge, the full PGA Show Education Conference of more than 30 live and on-demand virtual sessions is available to PGA and LPGA Professionals for $95, and all other industry professionals for $125.

Exhibitor Events/Programs – Many exhibitors are hosting special demonstrations, presentations and Q&A sessions in the Exhibitor Track of events, while multiple Callaway Golf Sessions, Titleist Workshops, a special FootJoy Launch Event and TPI Performance, Fitness and Wellness Presentations are offered each day for attendees.

Exhibitor Education Sessions – Several exhibitors are providing exclusive golf merchandise and service solution educational sessions for participating industry professionals. Insights on technology, software solutions and innovations will be shared by companies including 9-Eighteen Solutions, aboutGolf, FlightScope, Lightspeed, Sik Golf, Tagmarshal and Trackman.
PGA Show Trend Panel & Virtual Fashion Show – The latest golf, resort and sportswear collections will be in the spotlight of the PGA Show Trend Panel & Virtual Fashion Show on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m. (ET). Participating fashion show brands include 2UNDR, 7 Diamonds, Anatomie, Boston Scott Golf Apparel, FootJoy, IBKUL, Katherine Way, Kinona Golf & Life, Le Club, PUMA Golf, Sunderland, Tzu Tzu and Under Armour.

Golf Group Travel Post Pandemic – Golf Ireland, Los Cabos Tourism Board and The Three Royals Golf Experience are panelists for the Golf Group Travel Post Pandemic session, moderated by Farhad Heydari, the editor of NetJets Magazine and Founder & CEO of House of Heydari, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 2:35 p.m. (ET).

The NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference continues its strategic alliance with the PGA Merchandise Show and will be delivered on the PGA Show virtual platform, Jan. 25-27, 2021. Registration for the virtual GBC21 is available online when registering for the PGA Show at PGAShow.com .

The virtual PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit is being held Monday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Registration is now closed for this event.

The PGA Merchandise Show is the largest annual global summit for the business of golf. The easy-to-use virtual platform for the 2021 PGA Show features new product launch events, dynamic exhibitor showrooms, e-commerce applications by RepSpark, education sessions, industry presentations, one-to-one meetings, group networking, special events and PGA/LPGA player engagement programs. PGA Show programming will be available on demand for an extended period of time after the PGA Show concludes. PGA Show exhibitor showrooms will remain open on an ongoing basis to help exhibiting companies and buyers drive commerce throughout 2021.

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Greg Norman praises ‘rebel’ players ready to compete in controversial Saudi International

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There has been much speculation as to whether the new Greg Norman-led Asian Tour will be able to snipe some of the world’s best golfers during the 2022 season.

As reported by Golf Digest Australia, it appears Norman is confident in doing just that.

Yesterday, organizers of the Saudi International, which is set to take place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club from February 3-6, confirmed 25 of the golfers who will be making the trip to Saudi Arabia.

The list of stars is quite long and headlined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Dustin Johnson. Additionally, many of golf’s European Tour stars will be joining the field, including Adam, Tyrrell Hatton, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey.

In response to their commitment, Norman praised the “rebel” players for standing up to what he called “anti-competitive threats” in a memo sent to the golfers:

“I want to share my undivided support and endorsement for the stance taken in announcing your participation in the Saudi International,” he wrote.

“You are standing up for your rights, as professional athletes, and for what is right and best for the global development of the sport of golf.

“Without this change, you will never realise your individual and collective value, or elevate the game to the levels it deserves. Simply put, the anticompetitive threats and actions these professional bodies have taken are designed to prevent fair competition, limit the game’s growth, and harm your ability to realise your true value. 

“I wanted to reach out directly to share the respect I have for you and the strength of your actions, and also to voice the level of support you have from so many sectors of the industry, who are greatly encouraged by your leadership and the new horizons in golf’s future.”

The Saudi International will be played directly opposite to a brand new DP World Tour event, the Ras al Khaimah Championship, scheduled to take place in the UAE the same week.

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Golf pioneer Lee Elder passes away at age 87

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One of the pioneers against segregation in golf, Lee Elder, who will be mostly remembered for his appearance as the first black golfer to take part in The Masters, was reported to have died on Sunday, aged 87.

Having moved to Los Angeles at a young age, Elder took jobs at local golf courses before being encouraged and tutored by Joe Louis and Ted Rhodes before making his mark in the United Golf Association Tour for African-American players, at one stage winning 18 of 22 tournaments.

He reached the PGA Tour in 1968, losing a play-off to Jack Nicklaus at Firestone but always faced an uphill battle against the prejudice that existed.

Per Golf Channel’s report, during a tournament in Memphis one of his opponents, Terry Dill, saw a spectator pick his ball up and discard it, only for him to receive death threats at his hotel.

Further to that and similar episodes, at the 1968 Monsanto Open, Pensacola, Elder was amongst many black players forced to change in the car park as members would not allow non-white players in their clubhouse.

Six years later, Elder was to win in Pensacola, paving his way to that first initiation to The Masters, and whilst he received “up to 100 death threats” he confirmed some 40 years later that, “Every green I walked up on, the applause was just tremendous, I mean every one of the people shouted, ‘Go, Lee! Good luck, Lee!’”

In 1979, Elder became the first black player to qualify for the Ryder Cup and became a crusader and spokesman for injustice against racism at golf clubs, as well as speaking out against social discrimination and forming the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund, aiding low-income families seeking a place at college.

Elder eventually became a member of the PGA Champions Tour winning six of his first 22 starts and a total of nine tournaments.
As Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters, Elder was on hand to witness the cheers. “You would have thought I was winning the golf tournament,” Golf Channel report Elder to have said. “To be there, to see what Tiger did, that meant the world to me.”

Indeed, Tiger himself stated that “I wasn’t the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Teddy Rhodes paved the way,” said Woods. “I was thinking about them and what they’ve done for me as I was coming up the 18th fairway. I said a little prayer and a thanks to those guys. They are the ones who did it for me.”

Last April Elder was appointed an honorary starter (alongside Nicklaus and Gary Player) for the 85th Masters declaring that it was ”one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in…..it is certainly something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Masters chairman Fred Ridley gave Elder the ceremonial first-tee honours while adding that Elder will “make history once more, not with a drive, but with his presence, strength and character.”

Lee Elder is survived by his wife, Sharon, and will surely go down in history as one of the most influential players to break down racial barriers within the sport.

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19th Hole

‘OMG’ – Pro golfers go wild over Tiger Woods’ swing video

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If you are a fan of golf, there’s a good chance you have seen the most recent video of Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball on the range posted to his twitter account yesterday.

As ecstatic as golf fans are about seeing Tiger Woods effortlessly swing a club again, players on Tour seem to be just as fired up about Tiger’s video.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best tweets from Woods’ fellow PGA Tour players:

The PGA Tour is in a great place, with many young superstars on the rise and interest in the game at all time high. Even still, yesterday was a reminder that nothing moves the needle in the sport of golf like Tiger Woods. If more evidence is needed, the video Woods tweeted currently has 6.8 million views in under 24 hours.

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