Musings and Mulligans

Roy Lang III is The Times Assistant Sports Editor. He played golf at Centenary College. He has covered six major golf championships and also covered last year’s Ryder Cup. As an added bonus, both Hal Sutton and David Toms are on his speed-dial.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sutton Back On Tour

It had been well more than one month since Hal Sutton played an official round on the PGA Tour. But you really wouldn't have known that today.

Sutton was striking the ball particularly well at Cottonwood Valley en route to an even-par 70. Only a bad break and missed opportunities with his short game prevented an under-par round.

"I hit the ball well considering I havent played any," said Sutton, who has not played since The Players Championship. "It feels alright to be out here. Sometimes when you come back and you haven't done very much you're a little antsy about what the results might be."

Sutton began with two bogeys on the front nine, but quickly rallied to start the back with a pair of birdies. A birdie on No. 13 got the former Centenary star to 1-under for the event.

On the par-5 16th Sutton went for the green with an fairway metal. The approached looked perfect, but landed just short of the pin and kicked into the left rough. With very little green to work with and a short pitch, Sutton knocked it eight feet by and missed the ensuing birdie putt.

The most recent U.S. Ryder Cup captain bogey the final hole to shoot 70. He is tied for 68th and moves over to the tougher TPC at Four Seasons Resort Course on Friday. The way it looks, he will have to shoot at least 1-under par to play on the weekend. Sutton has not made a cut in 2005.

"We had a lot of crosswind holes out there today," Sutton said. "When you're riding the wind and you catch it flush, and you have exactly the right club sometimes you hit it through the green. Over is never very good. You're chipping downhill. This rye grass is like wire, it doesn't want to come out of it."

Daly Does It Again

Fresh off his perfomance down the road at Cool River on Wednesday night, John Daly wowed the Dallas crowd with a 6-under 64 in the first round of the EDS Byron Nelson.
Daly made seven birdies before a bogey at the final hole put him at 6-under. He is currently tied with Stuart Appleby for the lead.

If the Suit Fits

David Toms' play on the PGA Tour has certainly been sub-par lately -- and not the sub-par he has been looking for. The lawsuit filed against his agent, David Parker, and his company, Links Sports, most likely tells the story.
Here are some of the finer details:

1. Links Sports did not diligently develop, negotiate or manage prospective merchandising endorsements or sponsorships. For example, on occasion Mr. Toms would meet with prospective clients/sponsors, and pass information on to Links Sports to follow up. Links Sports would then fail to follow up, fail to return phone calls, and on at least one occasion, fail to show up for a meeting. Despite Mr. Toms' success in professional golf, Links Sports has not brought Mr. Toms any new endorsement deals in several years. Links Sports has failed to diligently develop endorsement and sponsorship deals commensurate with Mr. Toms' stature in the game of professional golf.

2. Instead of assisting Mr. Toms in the development and furtherance of his business affairs. Links Sports would at limes alienate existing clients and other business associates of Mr. Toms. Mr. Toms' clients/business associates have expressed dissatisfaction with Links Sports, complaining of unreturned phone calls, failure to communicate timely, and failing to provide required information. On at least one occasion. Link's Sports sent a mean-spirited email to a marketing director of one of Mr. Toms' sponsors, which threatened to alienate or at least inhibit Mr. Toms' relationship with that client. These and similar actions have prevented Mr. Toms from prolonging and/or enhancing his business relationships and dealings with existing clients.

3. Links Sports has not treated Mr. Toms fairly, preferring to promote other client golfers at the expense of Mr. Toms.

4. Links Sports has recouped fees to which it is not entitled under the Contract. For example, Links Sports has taken percentages From certain tournaments, even though Mr. Toms was invited to play in these tournaments based on his money ranking, or was otherwise invited to play by his good friends.

5. Originally, all endorsement checks were sent to Links Sports, which Links Sports would then send to Mr. Toms after it had taken out its percentage. But frequently Links Sports would hold large checks for long periods of time, which cost Mr. Toms interest money.

6. Links Sports sent a representative to speak with Mr. Toms about the Sanford (Newell Rubbermaid) account. This representative misrepresented the state of the account in an effort to mollify Mr. Toms, when in fact nothing had been done.

7. Links Sports withheld/confiscated checks from Sanford intended for Mr. Toms.

Something sounds shady about the Links operation -- provided this is all true. Mr. Parker did not return my call, so I have yet to receive the view from the other side.
The part I like best is that Links now wants 20 percent of the Titleist deal. The deal was struck before Links represented Toms, AND the percentage Links had been receiving was only 5. Until Toms in essence fired Links.