Rain, rain go away… and TaylorMade's new ball

  • Well the folks at Augusta National got part way through the day before the rain hit and made the course soggy again, calling off play once more.
    There have been some interesting bits to the tournament so far, including David Duval leading for six holes before falling back, though still playing better than in the past. And Tiger Woods managed to putt a ball off a green and into the water. By the way, contrary to the television commentary, Woods has pulled off that trick before — putting a ball into the water on the 17th at Valderama.
    There are a million places that cover the Masters — and everyone sends their top reporters and columnists to Augusta to write about the tournament, though few actually write regularly about golf and much of the commentary ends up in hyperbole.
    While the coverage won’t be critical, the Augusta local paper does a pretty good job of reporting on the tournament. You won’t be hearing much about Martha Burke, but maybe that’s just as well.
  • I had an interesting meeting with TaylorMade for a story I’m working on. We discussed the continued interest in the R7 (TaylorMade has a 30% share of the market in the woods category) as well as the new Black Max ball (Maxfli is a Taylor brand). The new balls look to compete with the ProV1, but at a price point that is slightly lower. However, that’s not how Taylor is pitching them. Instead, the company is pushing the balls as having the same performance, with a feel that is better than Titleist or Callaway.
    The best bit of the marketing campaign involves getting a sleeve of two Black Max balls with every box purchased. If you play the two balls and don’t like them, you can return the box for a refund.
    In my mind, this is kind of like Hyudai. For years people thought their cars were inferior. Even after they improved dramatically, they were still saddled with the same reputation. In order to change that, the Korean carmaker offered a lengthier warranty than the competition.
    TaylorMade is doing a similar kind of thing — offering people a chance to use their new balls for free to prove they rival the competition. It is a smart concept — now let’s see if they get the message through to the consumer.

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Jeff Lancaster

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