SBD/June 12, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

USGA Looks To Improve Pace Of Play With "Caddyshack"-Inspired Marketing Campaign

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The USGA in an attempt to "shake golf out of its slow-playing doldrums" today unveiled a new campaign centered around a line from the movie "Caddyshack," according to Bill Pennington of the N.Y. TIMES. The USGA initiative includes "five comedic 30-second videos" starring Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, Paula Creamer and Annika Sorenstam. The "centerpiece of the videos and the faster-play movement" is a line by Rodney Dangerfield. Woods is seen "painstakingly pausing over a putt" as a wider camera angle reveals he is "at a miniature golf course where children waiting behind him yell: 'Hey, while we’re young.'” Palmer "says the same thing as Eastwood overthinks a shot standing along the ocean, drawing one of Eastwood’s best Dirty Harry-like stares." Sorenstam and Creamer are seen "laboring over how to best deliver Dangerfield’s renowned line." Sources said that more than 4 million golfers in recent years have "given up golf" due to the "tedious pace of play." The USGA videos, which are "more like public service announcements, come less [than] a month after the organization took a widely debated stand against the use of anchored putting strokes." Both moves appear to be "part of a strategic transformation for the USGA." The videos are "meant to be the jumping off point in a 'While We’re Young' campaign, as each skit directs people to a newly created Website that asks golfers and golf facility managers to sign a pledge to improve pace of play" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/12).

TAKING A DIFFERENT APPROACH: USGA President Glen Nager formally announced the program during a press conference this morning and acknowledged the campaign is "different," but he hopes it will be "effective in mobilizing the golf community to be a part of the solution" to the pace-of-play problem. Nager: "Particularly if you, the media, will embrace it, support it and promote it.” Golf Channel’s Arron Oberholser said the USGA has "attacked this problem the right way." Oberholser: "It’s basically a public call to action, which I think is a great idea, getting it out there especially with the iconic names they’ve put up there” (“Live From the U.S. Open,” Golf Channel, 6/12).
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