The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 15

THE LAST WORD

Moving day for the PGA, and Justin Thomas

I

t's not one of the most monumental
alterations to the professional golf
landscape that the PGA Tour and
PGA of America have ever engineered,
but I think I like the scheduled move
of The Players Championship and the
PGA Championship, beginning in 2019.
It won't impact the overall Tour viewing
or playing schedule dramatically as the
introduction of the FedEx Championship series and the wraparound season
did, for instance, but I can understand
the advantages from the PGA's point of
view. Although there was no mention of
it in any of the reasons cited by PGA and
Tour officials for the moves, I suspect the
PGA is hoping that by moving into the
May slot between The Masters and the
U.S. Open, the public perception of the
PGA Championship as the "fourth major" will change in places other than the
calendar.
In addition to the stated objective of
avoiding a scheduling conflict with the
Olympics every four years, there was
probably some enthusiasm for keeping
as much of the FedEx series away from
the heart of the college and NFL football
seasons as well. Granted, with The Players moving into March, they're running
into college basketball's March Madness,
and in fact the Jacksonville area home of
TPC Sawgrass will play host to NCAA
first and second round games in 2019,
but there should be plenty of golf fans to
fill the stands at both events.
Speaking of the PGA Championship,
as it wound its way through the devilish twists and turns of major championship pressure and the newly toughened
Quail Hollows course, I was reminded
of a heavily hyped movie featuring a
star-studded cast that somehow never
really lived up to expectations. The pretournament hype revolved around the big
names. Would Jordan Speith win back
to back majors and become the youngest
player ever to complete the majors grand
slam? Would Dustin Johnson, Jason Day
or Rory McIlroy regain their missing
form? Would Ricky Fowler win his first
major? The answer in each case was no,
but with an impeccably timed burst of

www.PellucidCorp.com

back 9 brilliance, Justin Thomas added
his name to that growing list of 20-somethings who will be perennial contenders,
and quite possibly added a Player of the
Year trophy to his collection come the
end of this season.
While the talent of the seemingly
ever growing number of young guns on
the Tour these days is impressive, I don't
think there is any doubt that the majority
of the casual golf viewership demographic misses Tiger Woods. Somehow it just
doesn't light up the airwaves and send
the on-course crowds into a frenzy when
Graham Delaet goes eagle-eagle-birdiebirdie on the back 9 to move into contention. If Tiger Woods were to emerge
from his latest rehab, surgical or otherwise, to do that, course marshals would
have to break out the pepper spray and
water cannons to keep the patrons under
control. Friends and neighbors gathered
around the Sunday afternoon backyard
barbecue don't abandon the patio and
crowd around the TV when Kevin Kisler
sinks a 20-footer to take the final round
lead. Given that a Woods or a Nicklaus
comes around only slightly more often
than Haley's Comet, we may not see that
kind of star attraction concentrated in
one player ever again, particularly given
the incredible number of supernaturally
talented young players who will apparently be with us for years to come. Still,
the Tour has lost some of its luster for
the casual viewer sans Tiger, but as the
realization dawns that his day has come
and gone, perhaps the overall quality of
the golf from the younger generation will
save the day.
ClubCorp deal revisited
A recent post in this space about last
month's sale of ClubCorp to an Apollo
investment group contained a considerable amount of misinformation. Several
readers contacted us to correct the analysis of the transaction. At the time of the
Apollo sale announcement, a number of
publications announced the sale price
as $1.1 Billion, representing a purchase
price of $17.12 per share of ClubCorp
stock. The number raised some eyebrows,

including, I must admit, mine, in view of
the fact that ClubCorp had sold to KSL
Capital in 2006 for $1.8 Billion. Looking
at those numbers alone, it appeared that
ClubCorp, the world's largest owner/
operator of private clubs, had declined
in valuation over the past nine years. In
point of fact, quite the opposite is true.
The roughly $1.1 Billion share price
paid by Apollo represents only the equity
in the deal. Apollo also took on a similar amount in debt as well as more than
$300,000 in refundable membership deposits, ratcheting up their overall investment amount to over $2.2 Billion. Additionally, some of the more high priced
resort assets involved in the KSL acquisition, including The Homestead and
Barton Creek resorts, have since been
sold off and were not part of the Apollo
acquisition. And, further illustrating the
company's increase in value since 2006,
the $1.8 Billion price paid by KSL was
actually only $1.5B, given that former
ClubCorp principal Robert Dedmon, Jr.
paid over $300,000 for the Pinehurst Resort property. So, given that, the regime
guided by retiring CEO Eric Affeldt in
the time since the KSL purchase and
subsequently taking ClubCorp public
substantially grew the ClubCorp portfolio and valuation.
Asked what to expect from ClubCorp
under the Apollo ownership, one knowledgeable industry observer theorized that
while the company might continue to
pursue cost cutting strategies and consider selling off some of the weaker properties in its portfolio, ClubCorp would
likely continue to acquire clubs which
would add value to the portfolio and
to ClubCorp members. As far as what
Apollo would bring to the table, in addition to financial resources, our source
speculated that the company might be
able to leverage its newly acquired access
to ClubCorp's 430,000-plus prosperous
members to generate sales of unrelated
products and services.
In any case, this is apparently a much
clearer picture of the latest chapter in
ClubCorp's evolution. We appreciate the
correction.
-Jim Dunlap
The Pellucid PersPecTive

15


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017

TOC
Like snowflakes, each golf course is unique
Golf equipment direct-to-consumer distribution: Force to be reckoned with or passing fad?
Parsons and PXG take club fitting to a new level, and price point
July golf weather impact: Much-needed national “bounce”
Boston metrics favorable, but more rounds needed
Moving day for the PGA, and Justin Thomas
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - Like snowflakes, each golf course is unique
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - Golf equipment direct-to-consumer distribution: Force to be reckoned with or passing fad?
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - Parsons and PXG take club fitting to a new level, and price point
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - July golf weather impact: Much-needed national “bounce”
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 10
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - Boston metrics favorable, but more rounds needed
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - 14
The Pellucid Perspective - August 2017 - Moving day for the PGA, and Justin Thomas
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