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Volume 24 No. 92
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Chips & Putts: USGA Starts Merch Sales Early Around Championship For First Time

In Nebraska, Kevin Cole noted the USGA opened its merchandise tent at Omaha Country Club Sunday in advance of the U.S. Senior Open, and Bruno Event Team Senior Dir of Merchandise Nick Piccirilli said that this "marks the first time the USGA has ever offered merchandise for sale to the public before a championship event began." Piccirilli: "This is probably the largest Senior Open (merchandise) tent that we've ever had. There's been such a large interest for everything here in Omaha that we decided to experiment and have a pre-championship grand opening for the public." Piccirilli said that the USGA is not selling clubs because it "doesn't want to play favorites ... but just about everything else a golf fan can imagine is under the big top, all stamped with the event logo" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/8).

LET'S GO: USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces notes the USGA "got permission" from Warner Bros. and the family of late comedian Rodney Dangerfield to launch its recent "While We're Young" pace of play campaign. Dangerfield's widow, Joan, said, "They were so respectful. I thought the idea was pretty bold for such a conservative organization, but super fun." Dangerfield said that she contacted "Caddyshack" Exec Producer Jon Peters to "confirm Rodney had come up with the 'While we're young' line" (USA TODAY, 7/9).

HOLDING ALL THE CARDS: China's Shanshan Feng, the world's No. 6 ranked female golfer, has signed an endorsement deal with the Commerce Hotel & Casino. The deal was negotiated on Commerce's behalf by Raleigh-based marketing agency PSE-3. Feng last year became the first golfer from mainland China to win a women's or men's major at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. The Commerce, located outside L.A., touts itself as the world's largest poker casino. In addition to displaying the Commerce brand on her clothing, Feng will make several personal appearances for Commerce during the '13 season (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).

PREPPING FOR HIS DEBUT: Nashville-based 1 Degree Management signed former Univ. of Florida golfer TJ Vogel, who will make his PGA Tour debut at this week's John Deere Classic. Vogel has a multiyear endorsement deal with Acushnet brands Titleist and Footjoy for clubs, ball, glove, shoes and bag, and is outfitted by Ralph Lauren. Vogel also has a deal with financial firm The Annexus Group and private aviation provider Tempus Jets. Vogel is repped by Matt Cullen (1 Degree).