Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sun Mountain prez ducks rainsuit accountability

Did players get what they deserved by choosing second tier gear?

When you don't admit your golf product is second-rate after it is slammed by nearly every top American golfer, it's safe to assume nothing will change your mind.

Sun Mountain founder and president Rick Reimers finally spoke on the phone about the criticism that his rain gear received by the American team at the Ryder Cup.

But, Reimers didn't take the approach many good CEOs would take -- He defended the faulty suit.

Shane Bacon, writer for the Yahoo! Sports Devil Ball golf blog, reported that Reimers admitted that he was as confused (and depressed) as anyone, going as far as putting an employee in a shower for two hours with the team's rain suit with no leakage.

"We think nobody got wet with rain coming through the garment," Reimers said. "Did the outside material hold more moisture than you’d like? Probably. When something gets soaked, it feels cold on the skin. People might interpret that as being wet."

Reimers' point that uncomfortable, cold rain gear can still be waterproof is trivial. The quality debate was over as soon as the players turned them in, but it's hard not to sympathize with Reimers. He makes a good point that had the rain gear received 100 percent satisfaction, no one would have ever heard about it. Bacon certainly goes on to side with Reimers, encouraging the readers to go buy a Sun Mountain rain gear. G-Blaze couldn't disagree more.

First, if any person with a taste for quality golf products went to their local shop to purchase a best-of-the-best rain suit, they would skip right over a Sun Mountain product. It's not that the product is bad, it is just not what a golf product connoisseur would consider premier and not the choice of top professionals (note: save your Sun Mountain testimonials, please). If Sun Mountain wasn't planning to do a complete redesign of their materials, the U.S. Ryder Cup Team should have expected to get a second-rate rain suit. Or, was it the redesign that affected the quality? Had Sun Mountain given the players their stock gear would it have sufficed? This was primarily a materials issue. The gear was too bulky and retained the moisture, even if it didn't soak all the way through. It is more likely that if the Ryder Cup gear was inferior their materials across the line are inferior.

Second, Sun Mountain's president took a completely wrong approach of dealing with the situation. He first took a page of of Tiger's book of bad pr moves by failing to speak in a timely manner. He waited until the situation cooled down (much like a golfer cooling down in his Sun Mountain rain gear).

Then, Reimers doesn't admit fault. He doesn't say he was sorry that the players were forced to buy new suits from the merch tents. He doesn't mention caption Corey Pavin explicitly stating they were not doing what we wanted them to do. He basically questions the best players in the world's intelligence by defending his product's waterproofing.

It would have been nice to hear Reimers at least say that Sun Mountain was going to take a long, hard look at their product design, so the game's top players can have trust in Sun Mountain products. The only mention of improving the product was said in the context that Sun Mountain has been continuously striving to improve their products since their inception 40 years ago. If that's the case, they've had 40 years and still haven't figured out rain gear.

If Sun Mountain does get a second shot with the U.S. players at the Presidents Cup, the Reimers interview indicated they may get a product of similar quality. Of course, it'is doubtful that Sun Mountain will win the bid. If there is one thing G-Blaze has learned from buying an Odyssey Backstryke, it's that when it comes to golf products ... Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me ... can't get fooled again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Grand Slam of golf ... Give it up already

The 2010 Grand Slam of golf recently finished up and most people didn't have a clue. That's because it is clear that the event that is supposed to bring together each year's major champions has lost its clout.

This year's Grand Slam of golf featured 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer. Since British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and Masters champion Phil Mickelson were too busy, Ernie Els and David Toms were brought in.

The tourney organizers were likely thrilled when Els said he'd play, but Toms inclusion makes many wonder how far down the list they had to go to complete the foursome. It is nearly certain that Jim Furyk turned down the chance as he played in 2006, 2007 and 2008 even though his lone major win came back at the 2003 U.S. Open. And you know after a couple near misses, ol' Dusty J-Bone received an invite.

Last year was the first year since 2004 that all four major champions participated when Cabrera, Glover, Cink and Yang tee'd it up. Had a bigger name won a major, '09 would have likely been void of a major winner as well.

It won't be long before none of the year's major winners will want to participate, which will put a fast end to an event that has been fizzling out for years.

In case anyone cares, Ernie Els ran off three straight birdies on the back nine Wednesday and turned a three-shot deficit into a one-shot victory over Toms.