The United States isn't the only place where golf is growing right now. The game is also on the rise in Australia, which is home to golf's newest major champion, Adam Scott.
The latest report from the Australian Golf Industry Council, issued earlier today, indicated that April delivered the highest number of competition rounds played in any month over the entire financial year to date (July through June), while total rounds growth over the April 2012 period was just less than 1 percent.
At a state level, Victoria generated the strongest rise in round numbers over April 2012 with a 3.2 percent increase to 325,007 competition rounds, the report said. For the 10 months to date in the current financial year, total rounds across Australia are up 5.8 percent over the year-ago numbers.
''April proved to be a positive month with the largest number of competition rounds recorded for a month in the year to date,'' said Golf Australia CEO and AGIC Chairman Stephen Pitt.
April is, of course, also when Scott finally broke through and got Australia its long-awaited first green jacket. And as the celebration began Down Under, Pitt remarked that Australia's consistent growth would be boosted by Scott's victory.
"There is absolutely no doubt that Adam's win will have a significant impact on the Australian golf industry,'' Pitt said on April 22. ''His achievement and the people it inspires cuts through on all levels of golf.''
Anecdotally, the AGIC said, ''we’ve already had reports of increased foot traffic through golf clubs around the country in the days following his win. It's the ideal time to harness that enthusiasm for golf and welcome people, new and old, through the doors of golf facilities across the country."
The Australian Golf Industry Council was established in 2006 to help unite the golf industry. Its membership includes: Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, Australian Ladies Professional Golf, Australian Sporting Goods Association, Golf Australia, Golf Management Australia, PGA of Australia and the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects.
Nike Golf's timing could hardly be better, as the company revealed the details of the latest edition of its Tiger Woods golf shoes the day after Woods won The Players Championship while wearing the shoes in competition for the very first time.
The TW '14 shoes, like those that preceded them, were designed with testing by and input from Woods himself. The result, Nike says, is a shoe that further enhances the fit, feel and function of the TW '13 model.
''I train with Nike Free technology all the time,'' said Woods, referring to the extremely light weight and flexibility in some Nike running shoes that mimic the feel of running barefoot. ''I love training in it, running in it, lifting in it. So I asked, 'why can't I play golf in it?'''
And with that, Nike designers set to work creating a Nike Free-inspired golf shoe tailored to maximize Woods' game.
''In the TW '14, he wanted more stability with mobility and we've accomplished that by using Nike's Dynamic Flywire technology which moves with him, but stabilizes his foot when he swings,'' said Tobie Hatfield, Athlete Projects Innovator in Nike's Innovation Kitchen. ''We also increased breathability of the shoe by using a full mesh tongue."
The outsole of the TW '14 is designed to mimic and conform to the natural motion of the foot and still deliver the protection and traction of a lightweight performance golf shoe. This outsole allows the golfer to maintain contact with the ground longer, better harnessing the energy of the foot to the shoe and, therefore, the shoe to the ground.
''These shoes provide freedom of movement and allow me to release more power through my swing,'' said Woods.
The TW '14 will be available in a customizable NIKEiD version – making it the first Nike golf shoe with a NIKEiD version – which allows golfers to create their own combination of breathability and traction. The waterproof upper is made of multi-stretch synthetic leather for weather protection and durability, while the breathable upper (available exclusively via NIKEiD) features lightweight mesh to help keep feet comfortable on hot days.
The TW '14iD will preview on May 20 and be available at retail on June 7 with a suggested retail price of $225 per pair. The regular TW '14 model will be available on June 7 (the Cool Grey/Black-Vivid Blue-Venom Green models will debut on Aug. 1) with a suggested retail price of $220 and a street price of $180.
For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo appears to be cutting down on his links time this offseason.
Romo, long known as one of the best celebrity golfers out there, played with Tiger Woods in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, but apparently is sitting out a lot of his other usual offseason outings. The reason seems to be related to the six-year, $108 million contract he signed at the end of March, making him the highest-paid player in Cowboys history.
Soon after giving Romo that contract, Cowboys Owner/General Manager Jerry Jones said he expected his quarterback to focus even more on football all year round.
"Tony is going to have more time, more presence, not only in the offseason but when the season starts, beginning Monday, assuming we played Sundays," Jones told The Dallas Morning News. "He's going to have more time on the job. A part of what we agreed with was extra time on the job, beyond the norm. That doesn’t mean that he didn't have a lot of time on the job, but extra time on the job, Peyton Manning-type time on the job."
No word out of Big D on how much golf, if any, Romo is getting in these days. But according to ESPN Dallas, he's been skipping such high-profile events as PGA Tour pro-ams and the qualifiers for the U.S. Open and HP Byron Nelson Championship, where he's been a regular presence in recent years.
As a long-suffering Cowboys fan, I'm not sure what I think about this development. The truth is, Romo has always been quite active with his team and teammates during the offseason, even as he enjoyed his fair share of time on the golf course, despite the widespread perception that he paid more attention to golf than to football between seasons.
Of course, I’m hoping for as many wins as possible – especially late in the season when the Cowboys traditionally struggle. But it seems to me that there's plenty of time for both football and golf during the offseason, and that the best quarterback is a healthy and well-rounded one.