PING, the world-renowned golf club manufacturer, is celebrating one of its most successful seasons on the European Tour, with four of its Staff Players finishing in the top-12 on the Tour’s official Order of Merit.
That Tour success mirrors the company’s current sales figures, with sales of its drivers, fairway woods, irons and putters all up year on year both in Britain and many of its other key European markets.
Forty-year-old Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez, was PING’s most successful Staff Player during 2004, amassing four European Tour victories on his way to finishing fourth on the Order of Merit with earnings of almost £1.9 million. His Ryder Cup colleague, Lee Westwood, was seventh on the money list, with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Australia’s Nick O‘Hern occupying 11th and 12th places, respectively.
Jimenez changed to PING’s S59 irons towards the end of the 2003 season and almost immediately won the Turespana Mallorca Classic. This year, he has switched to the new S59 Tour irons, G2 Driver and PING Tour Wedges and has built on that success, winning in Thailand, Portugal, China and Germany to take his haul of European Tour victories to eleven.
Cabrera is renowned as one of the world’s longest hitters, averaging 308.6 yards on this year’s European Tour. He has also wielded his 39-inch long PING Lil‘C putter with such effect that he finished first in the Tour’s Putts per Greens in Regulation statistical category, averaging a miserly 1.702. He also came third in the Putts Per Round category, with an average of 28.4.
Westwood and O‘Hern were among the Tour’s most consistent performers this season. The Englishman, who ended the 2004 season using a G2 Driver, Craz-E putter and the new S59 Tour irons, was runner-up twice, at the Smurfit European Open and the HSBC World Match Play. He also came fourth at The Open and was a stalwart at the Ryder Cup, winning 4.5 points out of five and defeating Kenny Perry in the singles. Interestingly, prior to switching to the new PING S59 Tour irons he had used PING Zing 2 irons for the previous 13 seasons.
O‘Hern notched no less than 11 top-ten finishes in 23 Tour starts, including second place finishes at the French Open and the Linde German Masters.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Miguel Angel, Lee, Angel, Nick and the other Staff players for all their successes this season,” said John A. Solheim, PING’s Chairman and CEO. “It represents a significant achievement for PING to have four players in the top-12 on the European Tour Order of Merit”.
PING Staff Players also enjoyed considerable success on the other side of the Atlantic with Heath Slocum and Mark Hensby both winning on the US PGA Tour and Chris DiMarco and Chris Riley making it onto the US Ryder Cup side. Elsewhere, former Ryder Cup captain, Mark James, celebrated his first year on the Champions Tour by winning one of the Seniors Tour’s majors, the Ford Seniors Players Championship.
PING’s latest Tour successes came during a year in which the company successfully launched a new G2 driver, its S59 Tour irons, its Tour wedges and both the Doc 17 and Doc 15 putters. Those launches, coupled with strong sales for the G2 irons and fairway woods, the i3+ irons and the revolutionary Craz-E putter helped the company to buck the market trend and post record sales figures.
“It really has been a great year for PING,” said Solheim. “Happily, our successes on Tour have been replicated by strong sales for our drivers, fairway woods, irons and putters. All year long, the G2, launched late in 2003, has been a big success for us and this year’s launches, G2 driver, the Craz-E putter and the Tour wedges, have subsequently continued that trend.”
“The driver, in particular, has been revelation,” added Solheim. “In fact, it could well be one of the most successful launches we have ever had.”