Golf Inc - Fall 2011 - (Page 32)
Amid foreclosures, struggling private clubs and a stagnant development market, the world of golf saw a burst of hope this past year. It came in the face of Rory McIlroy. Not since Tiger Woods’ heyday has a new golfer had such a profound impact on the state of the industry. And while many are hopeful that the Irish kid can boost golf, there have only been a few individuals who, like Arnold Palmer, have ever achieved such a task. Not even Tiger lived up to his billing. When this magazine premiered our power ranking in 1998, Woods was placed on the list because of what he might do. But just when he started to take an active interest in the business of golf, his star fell sharp and suddenly. His descent continued this past year, as the stress of divorce took a toll. His return to tournament play was plagued by injuries that had him sitting out both the U.S. and British Opens and withdrawing from the Players Championship after only nine holes. Woods capped off the summer by firing his long-time caddy and losing more endorsements. For the first time since 1998, he is not on our power list. In his place, albeit in the last spot, is McIlroy. Thanks to his ascending star, along with that of other European players, a host of Europeans moved up our power rankings. Chubby Chandler makes his debut at No. 19, and George O’Grady, executive director of the European PGA Tour, moved up 10 spots to No. 9. But the list is still dominated by management company executives, including Dana Garmany, who returned to Troon Golf after a one-year hiatus and took our top spot for the first time. As Garmany said recently, this is a good time
Goodbye Tiger, hello Rory. While management execs still dominate, the world of golf continues to grow beyond the U.S.
to manage — and not own — golf courses. Opportunistic buyers are starting to make waves in the industry and on our list, including Peter Nanula, who returns to our ranking for the first time in more than 10 years. Those working in China continue to see their power rating rise, including David and Ken Chu (moving up to No. 4) and Wang Jun, who joins our list for the first time. Overall, there are nine new people on the list this year — the second year in a row we have seen turnover greater than 20 percent. And that is a reflection of golf, an industry in flux and one that is not sure if it is healing or getting sicker. But one thing is for sure — it is changing. Jack Crittenden, Robert Vasilak, Elizabeth Ewing and David McPherson compiled this story, with feedback from Trevor Ledger and Bruce Buckley.
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