Our new Callaway staffers got off to a strong start last week at the Sony Open, highlighted by Chris Kirk and Brian Stuard’s T5 finishes. While our Marketing Director Jason Finley and Trade Marketing Director Greg Sabella both made the right call on Kirk, SVP of Marketing Harry Arnett had a tough week to say the least (more on that in a bit). Jason ultimately took home the win, and now sits atop the standings on our Pro Picks leaderboard.
The standings after week 1:
1. Jason Finley – Marketing Director (Gets the win behind Kirk and Danny Lee)
2. Greg Sabella – Trade Marketing Director (Solid picks last week)
3. Jeff Newton – Tour Beat Writer (Nothing to write home about)
4. Harry Arnett – SVP of Marketing (Ouch!)
Harry’s so rattled by his performance that he’s brought out a reverse jinx for the Humana Challenge. But don’t worry, there’s a method to his madness and hopefully he can say “I told you so” after a Callaway win on Sunday.
Harry Arnett (SVP, Marketing)
Harry’s Picks: Well, let’s let Harry explain…
I know. I had a bad week last week. My guys didn’t fare too well and I take 100% responsibility. @sirdoublel (Luke List) texted me and pleaded with me not to pick him anymore this year. The Arnett jinx is in full force. Even my beloved Falcons squandered a 27-7 late lead after I announced that I picked them to win the 4th quarter last week. At least they won and overcame the jinx.
Soooooo, here are my picks…
I pick everyone on anyone else’s staff who is not playing Callaway this week. No chance anybody from Callaway wins. No chance.
I also pick the 49ers to beat the Falcons on Sunday.
And I also predict that I will not win the lottery this weekend.
Hope the jinx continues…
Pick #1 - Mickelson
Hard to not pick Lefty as he makes his 2013 debut in the desert. He ended the season strong and has a “decent” record in California with 10+ wins. He’s won this event twice and is the tournament’s all-time leading money winner. He is also not afraid to go crazy low and this tournament will have plenty of birdie opportunities.
Pick #2 – Chris Kirk
Kirk played solid last week and I am going to keep him in my lineup and ride the wave of good play. He finished middle of the pack last year in the desert, but with a bag full of new Callaway sticks in 2013, it may be his week.
Pick #3 – Ryo Ishikawa
I’m going with Ryo, mostly because he’s only 21 and he’s already a first name only guy. That only happens when you win 11 professional tournaments before you can buy a beer, you win multiple majors, or you’re named after a large reddish cat with black and white stripes. He’s also a new California resident and I can’t think of a better way to say “I’m here” than to win in his new backyard.
Pick #1 - Kirk
Sticking with a proven pick already this year for me, my first pick is Chris Kirk. Chris is coming off a great week in Hawaii with a great low round of 62 as part of his four rounds in the 60′s on the way to his T5 finish. Chris is dialed into his new Callaway gear including his new X Forged Irons. Not to mention being the leader last week with 13 Bombs off the tee. Chris has proven already this year he can go low and this is the perfect event for that mentality.
Pick #2 - Gainey
My next pick is the early season leader in the Bomb Tracking stats with 23, Tommy Gainey. Tommy was in great spirits this week in the Desert and has the perfect mentality for a Pro Am event in the Desert where the winner will need to make a lot of birdies.
Pick #3 - Woodland
My final pick for the week is Gary Woodland. Gary worked into an X Hot Pro 17 degree Fairway Wood this week after hitting the 15 degree too far, good problem to have and further proves how long X Hot Fairways are. Gary is all dialed into his new Callaway gear and ready to get off to a great start. Plus, he is an all-around great guy and great addition to the Callaway team.
Jeff Newton (Tour Beat Writer)
Jeff’s Picks: Mickelson, Luke List, Colt Knost
Pick #1 - Mickelson
Come on, how can you not pick Lefty in his first start of the year? Phil has told Callaway Tour Reps over and over that he loves our new products, and that he’s ready for a big year. He’s feeling confident at an event that lends itself to low numbers. Pencil in Phil for a great finish this week.
Pick #2 - List
Harry may be blacklisted from taking Luke, but I’m backing the Vanderbilt alum in a big way this week. Luke will pick up plenty of X Bombs with his huge drives and leave himself a number of short approaches where he can be aggressive. He’ll tear up the par-5s and scare a number of pins in La Quinta.
Pick #3 - Knost
Knost can split the fairways all day, and a hot putter will help him drop a number of birdie putts. He consistently puts the ball in the right spots, and the Humana Challenge always rewards that type of play. Look for four solid rounds from Knost.
The Final Word
We like this Phil Mickelson guy to play well in the desert, go figure. We also expect our new staffers Kirk, Woodland and Ryo to hit huge bombs and work their way into the mix on Sunday. If all goes well, maybe Harry can stop resorting to the reverse jinx. Maybe.
To learn more about the Callaway Crew, please check out our Staff Pros Page.