Have you ever gone golfing in a heavy fog that just won't lift? What about putting away in a torrential downpour? Once your visibility is flawed, it's probably best to call it a day and go warm up with your beverage of choice in the clubhouse. That's what Callaway
The company that revolutionized the game with its oversized Big Bertha driver is doing its best to bury the ball in a bunker brimming with kitty litter. While the company claims that, given its new CEO, the transition mandates a thorough business review that may impact existing products as well as projected launches, it's a lot like whistling to distract your fellow golfers as you resurface the fairway to your advantage.
I'm not saying that by delaying the launch of some of its products until next year under the grander theme of introspective reinvention itself, Callaway is giving itself carte blanche to undershoot the $0.15 to $0.25 a share that it was expected to earn this year. Well, even if I were saying exactly that, it's not as though there is any way that I could prove that to be the case. The deck is being reshuffled even before we had a chance to see the cards.
However, why would there be a need for this major retuning if things weren't going a lot worse than Callaway had expected? The company had already sliced itself into the rough when it had to lower its expectations back in June.
It's a shame, because Callaway's got the goods. This isn't a brand beast like Nike
Yet the company has gone from battling pirated clones to competing against legal discounted knockoffs over the years, and that's a dangerous trend. The new Callaway that emerges from the review may be a sliver of its old self. If it is forced to compete on price with profit margins squeezed, it won't be just the company that has to review its long-term prospects. Investors will have no choice but to follow suit.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can play a mean round of Glow Golf. It's once the sun shines and the holes get distant on a full-sized course that his game falls apart. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.