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Today: Holy crap! Callaway and Topgolf are merging!
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Callaway and Topgolf are merging
There are still sometimes legitimate surprises in the golf business, and yesterday one of those came when Callaway and Topgolf announced they were merging.
If you want all the details, check out the breakdown I did here, but basically Callaway is issuing 90 million shares to Topgolf’s owners so that Callaway owns approximately 52 percent of the new combined company, while Topgolf’s owners get a $2 billion valuation and 48 percent of the new company.
Topgolf had been looking at an initial public offering pre-pandemic, and they were looking at a valuation of up to $4 billion. They probably would have gotten close to it. Callaway instead gets a 50 percent discount on that price, picks up the remaining 86 percent of the company they didn’t already own and is prepared to make a big bet on Topgolf’s plans that call for a decade of massive expansion.
The deal represents a perfect storm of sorts, with Topgolf’s investors looking to cash in through an IPO but unable to get maximum value thanks to the pandemic, while Callaway saw yet another opportunity to diversify its holding and get even further away from being just a golf equipment and apparel company.
Bermuda greens will mean Augusta green for one lucky player
I can completely understand if you’re checking out on golf right now. We’ve been back at it every single week since June, and the quality of golf has been tremendous. There’s been no shortage of storylines and great fields and reasons to watch. You’re exhausted. The players are, too.
And yet I’m going to urge you to check in with the Bermuda Championship — at least on Sunday afternoon. (Coverage ends at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, so it’s Brunch Golf.)
With the WGC HSBC Champions canned due to the pandemic, this tournament has been upgraded from an opposite-field also-ran into a 132-player lottery ticket with 500 FedEx Cup points, a two-year exemption and a 2021 Masters berth on the line. Defending champion Brendon Todd is the only top-50 player in the field, and Will Zalatoris needs just 3 FedEx Cup points to earn Special Temporary Membership through the end of the year — effectively a promotion to the PGA Tour.
These events always have fascinating leaderboards, but they’re usually for little money and 60 percent of normal FedEx Cup points. With the extras on the line this week, I think this is going to be a great watch in Crunch Time.
You gotta check out…
2022 Senior Open to Gleneagles: The Senior Open was cancelled this year, and Sunningdale is set to move forward as host next year after not getting a chance this year. Now the R&A shares that Gleneagles Resort will host the 2022 Senior Open. Personally I’m not thrilled any year that any inland course gets the Senior Open or Women’s Open, but Gleneagles has started to develop some history as a Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup venue. Hopefully it’ll be a fun week. Could Phil play?
Next year’s Florida Swing as the Fan Swing: It’s increasingly clear that we’re not going to see fan-draped rope lines at PGA Tour events for a good while, well into next year. Despite fans being allowed this week in limited numbers in Bermuda and next week in Houston, players are reluctant to have the public watching them play so close to the end of what frankly is an incredible run. Sports Business Daily looks at the Florida Swing next March as the most likely time we’ll see larger galleries at PGA Tour events. There has to be some hope that Florida will remain as mismanaged as it has been, allowing pretty much anything at this point as though the pandemic is over. There also has to be a calculation that perhaps the worst of it will be done by March. I’m sure the Tour would love to be able to declare somewhat of a Return to Normal in time for The Players, which was when this whole mess started — at least in the golfing consciousness.[/s2If]