5 Things You Need To Know Now

As further evidence of normalcy returning to Tiger Woods’ life, he’s stepping up his marketing duties again.

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Tiger Woods during Round 2 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

Next month, the Nike icon will fly the company flag during a three-city promotional swing through Asia.

Following the Masters, Woods is set to join Nike Golf president Cindy Davis on what the company is calling its “Make it Matter” tour. The 14-time major championship winner is scheduled to host youth clinics and meet with media. The tour is designed to fuel the region’s growing interest in the game and promote Nike products.

Beginning in China with stops in Shenzhen (April 12) and Beijing (April 13), the tour then moves to Seoul, Korea (April 14). Initially, Nike had planned on visiting Tokyo as well, but altered its itinerary, respecting Japan’s need to focus on efforts to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the nation March 11.

The trip also enables Davis to meet with Nike Golf’s business partners and assess the region’s market potential.

Said Davis: “We believe that teaming with Tiger to shine a light on golf in China and Korea will have a meaningful impact on a region that is playing a critical role in the growth of our sport.”

•••

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Miguel Angel Jimenez of Europe

Miguel Angel Jimenez certainly believes in putting his money where his mouth is, especially when it comes to the Andalucia Open. The popular Spaniard not only acts as host for the tournament that is played in his hometown of Malaga, he has invested around €1 million into the event since 2007. Jimenez has averaged around €250,000 of his own cash to keep the tournament going since he agreed to act as tournament host.

“I have been playing golf for 23 years and everything I have I owe to golf,” Jimenez said. “I am happy to help because I want to see a European Tour event played here in Malaga.”

•••

Even though he’s had a couple of chipping breakdowns in the past six months (at the Ryder Cup and WGC-Accenture Match Play) and a good short game is vital at Augusta National, Hunter Mahan merits occupancy on the early short list of 2011 Masters threats.

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Hunter Mahan

Mahan is rounding into form at the right time and has finished in the top 10 at the past two Masters. Though he faded to T-38 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after an opening 69, he already has four top 10s this year, all on difficult tracks – including T-6 at Torrey Pines, second at Pebble Beach and ninth at Doral.

Mahan’s short game isn’t as poor as those two high-profile flubbed chips might indicate. He’s 66th on the PGA Tour in scrambling, getting up and down 61.5 percent of the time.

What’s more, his ball-striking and attitude seem to be improving.

“I was a little shaky early in the year, but I’m finally getting my groove and getting comfortable with the golf swing,” Mahan said.

Then there’s the conscious effort to improve his outlook on the course. The plan is to stop beating himself up mentally after a poor shot.

“I felt like if I wanted to be a top-5 player in the world, someone who can go out there and win majors, I have to add a better, more consistent attitude week-in and week-out,” said Mahan, who works with sports psychologist Neal Smith. “I couldn’t be so judgmental on one shot or one hole. We play so much golf, you don’t realize how beat down you can get if you’re so tough on yourself. I need to go out there and relax and just kind of let my game come out and just really just let it flow."

•••

Pete Bevacqua has resigned as the USGA’s chief business officer, effective immediately Golf360 has learned.

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Mike Davis, the former senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA, was elevated to executive director on March 2.

Bevacqua was a candidate for the association’s executive director post, which was filled March 2 by Mike Davis, who confirmed the resignation.

A message seeking comment that was left on Bevacqua’s cell phone was not immediately returned.

Davis called Bevacqua's resignation, which was delivered in person last week to Davis and the USGA's Mike Butz, "certainly a loss for our side."

Rand Jerris, a USGA spokesman, told Golf360 in an email that Davis would conduct an analysis of the organization before deciding on how the role of chief business officer might be filled. "In the meantime," Jerris said, "Pete's responsibilities have been assigned temporarily to select senior staff members while we consider the best next steps for the USGA."

Bevacqua, 39, a Notre Dame alumnus and Georgetown Law graduate, joined the USGA as in-house corporate counsel in September 2000. He served as managing director of U.S. Open Championships. In 2007, he was named the organization’s first chief business officer.

As the chief business officer, Bevacqua was responsible for the USGA’s revenue-producing activities.

For 113 years, the USGA eschewed corporate sponsors. During Bevacqua’s tenure, the USGA added a fourth corporate partner, Royal Bank of Scotland, to a roster that included American Express, Lexus and IBM.

Bevacqua put the change in strategy in perspective: “We were looking for real top companies that shared a cultural vision with the USGA and really understood the game of golf, which is what we’re all about.”

•••

Colin Montgomerie said his captaincy of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team was a once-only thing. However, the Scotsman now says he would reconsider if asked to captain the 2014 side at Gleneagles, Scotland.

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Colin Montgomerie

“Whether or not I am captain in 2014 depends on how things go in 2012 and what the committee’s feelings are,” Montgomerie said. “I am just there to support the Tour, as I’ve always said.

“Anyway, I am sure I will be involved because of my affiliation with Gleneagles, whatever that might be. If asked again, and because of my involvement for and with the Tour over the years, I would have to accept. They would have to approach me. I would not be approaching them.”

Montgomerie lives just five minutes from Gleneagles.

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