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Volume 24 No. 117
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Chips & Putts: HSBC Taking Long Look At Future Golf Sponsorship Options

In Abu Dhabi, Steve Elling reports HSBC will "take a long look at whether it will continue with golf sponsorship at current, higher or lower levels." The company stages a co-sanctioned WGC tournament called the HSBC Champions, an "event on the LPGA, a tournament in Brazil and also underwrites the British Open." There is "only one year left" on its contract for the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and all five deals "expire at some point next year." HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan in the past "has been critical" of Tiger Woods "for skipping the HSBC Champions." Morgan said that, at "some point, HSBC and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, who underwrite the tournament and determine which players are targeted to receive appearance fees, would contact Woods’s management team" (Abu Dhabi NATIONAL, 1/21). HSBC over the weekend expressed concern with this year's British Open taking place at a male-only venue.

ON THE BEACH: In South Carolina, Alan Blondin reports golfer Natalie Gulbis will be "representing Myrtle Beach golf management company National Golf Management" in '14. Gulbis has a "one-year agreement to be the spokesperson for NGM and its 22 Strand courses, golf package businesses and accommodations at Pawleys Plantation." She is "taking part in a sweepstakes through that will have her eating dinner and playing a round of golf at Pawleys Plantation in late fall with eight winners, and she’ll be wearing the Myrtle Beach Trips logo on the sleeve of her golf shirts in competition." NGM representatives and Gulbis "anticipate the partnership extending" beyond '14 (Myrtle Beach SUN NEWS, 1/21).

NEED FOR SPEED: noted Paulina Gretzky, the fiancée of golfer Dustin Johnson, "posted on her various social-media accounts that she is currently filming a commercial for TaylorMade." It is "unclear her exact role in the clip." A "close inspection" of a photo she posted "shows that she is wearing a badge with the words SPEED POLICE" (, 1/16).

NOTES: Cobra Puma Golf yesterday announced the return of Greg Norman to its stable of global brand ambassadors. He will work on product development and will play with Cobra clubs at appearances, tournaments and events (Cobra Puma Golf)....Golfer Jason Dufner and Perry Ellis Int’l will continue their partnership for a second season, as Dufner will continue to be a brand ambassador for PGA Tour Pro Series apparel. Dufner will wear PGA Tour Pro Series at all appearances and be the keystone to the brand’s marketing efforts (Perry Ellis).