European Tour: Every Shot Imaginable – Magicians

The latest in the mildly viral promotional European Tour videos starring the magicians from the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

See future compelling content fresh from the European Tour and the Saatchi & Saatchi Every Shot Imaginable campaign including the previous viral videos by visiting www.everyshotimaginable.com or by clicking the Every Shot Imaginable You Tube Channel here (clay pigeon golf) and here (200 yard Gong shot).

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E-Commerce: Do You Have What It Takes?

Author: Singyin Lee @ Hongkiat

You may have come across this infographic depicting the new generation of tech millionaires under the age of 30 and wondered if it was time that you got yourself involved with an online venture yourself. Won’t that be great? Being your own boss, calling all the shots, go golfing whenever you feel like it, and charge all your trips and meals to the company’s account. That’s the life!   But hold your horses, cowboy. It’s not as easy as it looks. Before you get yourself tangled in e-commerce, here are a few things you should know first.

It Takes More than Just an Idea  

It seems so easy to get into an online business nowadays. You can just take a successful and working business concept, tweak them a little, add an extra feature or two, then market the business out as your own. There are people who do that because… why mess with something that works, right? But don’t think that you can piggyback on the pioneer’s success if you are going down this road.

A lot happens behind the scenes. You can’t see the inner workings of the organization, the amount of time and effort devoted behind marketing, and finding and retaining good staff; the dedication it takes to provide customer satisfaction and handle difficult requests; etc. What I’m trying to say here is don’t think that just because you know the idea works, you can leave every other aspect of the business unattended, because that is pretty much one of the main reasons a business will go bust.

Money isn’t easier to make online  

Well, to be fair, it isn’t easy to make money. Period. Before your business can hit the skies, you have to first spend quite a sum to get it down the runway and take off first. We’re not talking about a freelance business where all you need is a platform to market your expertise (a blog, a self-made website or a social media network), a portfolio to showcase your talents and strong networking ties.   We’re talking about the cost, time and effort it takes to get a team together to work the areas that make the cogwheels in your business run – things like the setting up of a content management system, and payment solutions that will give your customers the confidence to do business with you. Having round-the-clock technical support will also be beneficial to the business since there is no closing time on the Web. Also equally important are the branding exercises in social media networks. All of this will take up your time; if you don’t have the time, you still need to pay someone else to do it for you.

There’s a lot of commitment involved

As I’m sure you would have realized by now, there is a lot of commitment involved if you want your own e-commerce business. As with any other life-changing event in your life, having your own online business will also affect your current lifestyle.   All that talk about being your own boss means you can get on and off work as you please, right? It doesn’t work like that. You may be your own boss, but you answer to customer demand. For starters, you can throw your weekend plans, shopping trips and movie nights out the window because you’re not going to find enough time to eat a proper meal. Anytime you aren’t manning your counter, you may be losing out on a deal to a rival.

Getting someone else to watch the counter for you will cost you, but you really don’t want to burn out before the business takes off, and it will take a while before it starts to simmer. But what really sucks about being the man (or woman) on top is that you don’t get to call in sick to get away from all the madness no more. Have a busy period? Deal with it. Got a tough customer who just won’t let you get your way? Suck it up and deal with it. A client or supplier reneged on something promised to you? You guessed it. You want to be the head honcho, you deal with it.

The Stress of Decision-making  

After the first hurdle, you may have made a name for yourself and with things going so well, you may be thinking of expanding the business. Here is when your analytical skills and decision-making skills may help you make or break the business. As your business starts to build up, you may consider investing in new technologies or hiring new, or more, people to help you watch over things.   However, if you expand too quickly, you may find your liabilities locking up your cash flow, and over time, it may drag the business down like an overzealous anchor. Expand too slowly and you may find your staff (or even yourself) overworked, customers running off to a more efficient rival and no one happy. It’s a precarious spot to find yourself in, this balancing act between low-threshold stability and potential high income risk, but it’s a stage you want to look forward to because it means that your business is doing well. The stakes are higher on the Web because users don’t respond to changes lightly. But that is a risk online entrepreneurs may have to face to take the business higher.

Conclusion  

The purpose of this article is not to deter you from engaging your own e-commerce experience. However, we do want you to know what you are getting yourself into. Starting your own business is not something you can turn on and off like a light switch. And it’s not like school, where if you study hard you are likely to get a good grade. At times, if you spend too much time trying to perfect your craft, your online business may lose out on new upcoming trends and be left stuck in the mud. Nonetheless, if at the end of the day you find that e-commerce is not your cup of tea, you can always choose to sell the business to cut your losses. But that’s another article for another day.

SmartProTM: Customers come first, second, third…

Regardless of what B2C business you operate, there exist a number of key activities that are the key to the success of any business. These points all hinge around the most important thing – its customers. That is not to say that anyone reading this does not already run a successful business, but if it doesn’t currently consider these five key activities, could its’ business be stronger if it did?

There are many businesses whose main bulk of activity is B2C – golf clubs & professionals, many online/ecommerce sites, charities, ticketing/hospitality and the mainstream media and each of these hang their hat on the ability to drive traffic – online or physically, to their chosen outlet. Without this traffic – and regardless of the rest of their business model/customer service or product offering, it is likely its’ business is not performing as well as it could.

Here are five key points that many B2C businesses should consider and actively work to integrate as part of their strategy: 

1.       Knowing your customers

Who are they and how do you contact them? Without this – and other than expensive and time consuming above the line marketing – how is a business going to be able to effectively and efficiently contact your customers to let them know what you are offering or selling?

2.       Understanding your customers

Second only to knowing its’ customers is to understand them. This is key as this enables you to be able to communicate more appropriate messages to a customer base at the most appropriate time and in the most appropriate manner. In golf this may equate to members versus retail shoppers, individuals versus corporate guests while in retail this may equate to male versus female and understanding what their history is with you in order to not target inappropriate marketing at them. That’s as much of a turn off as getting their name wrong!

3.       Marketing to your customers

The ability to influence a businesses’ customers’ can now be in its owner/managers hands, as no longer do traditional media necessarily offer the best means to market to a relevant audience. Therefore knowing and understanding a businesses’ customers (as above) is crucial to its ability to market appropriately, effectively and efficiently for a direct ability to improve its’ revenue success through proper meaningful customer communication.

4.       Selling to your customers

Does a business ever really sell to its’ customers? Does it ever ask for the business? Offer help and advice or ask about the wellbeing and relevant points of its audience. Appreciating that it is more difficult online, but any customer facing business has the opportunity to engage its audience and work to understanding their needs and therefore be in a position to offer them something to suit. There are simple questions and signs that every B2C business could benefit from knowing, understanding and putting into their daily action plan at work.

5.       Looking after your customers

So now you know your customer; you understand them; you have successfully marketed to them; and sold them a great product or service? So what now? Do many businesses then truly look after its’ customers? Do they offer feedback opportunities or ask about ongoing support or deliver a top level customer caring after sales experience? Many B2C businesses would be surprised at the feeling a customer gets when it feels loved. Therefore as much importance can be placed on what a seller does after a sale has gone through, as it can as you actually approach making the sale. Customer care may bring a customer back when they next need something you offer; it may create positive word of mouth for itself or simply ensure a customer has received a positive experience that makes them feel valued. All in – it’s the simple things that, in this case, really make a difference.

SmartProTM is a proven unique series of procedures and processes that works specifically to bolster the revenue opportunities in many B2C businesses including in sport (golf, football, rugby etc), retail and charity. It includes the core departments of F&B, ticketing, membership, loyalty, retail, online, merchandising and sponsorship and over 15 years has lead to significant increases in financial performance and ROI across football (Premier League, Football League and SPL), rugby, governing bodies, sponsorship and rights owners, online/ecommerce business, retail merchandising and hospitality organisations. For more information please get in contact.

Startups to Watch in 2012

Author: Sarah Kessler @ Mashable

An Olympic games, a U.S. presidential election and the end of the world are already planned for 2012, but we’re more excited about the startups. Here are six of them (in no particular order) that we expect to help define the coming year. We chose companies based on the momentum they gained in 2011, promising new takes on old problems and, in one case, the possibility of an IPO. Did we look at every startup in the world before compiling this list? Nope. Did we overlook some of the startups speeding toward 2012 definition-dom? Yep. Which is where you come in. Let us know in the comments which startups are on your list to watch in 2012.

Skillshare

Skillshare is an online marketplace for offline classes. When we spoke to the startup in May, a month after it launched, more than 100 users had posted classes about everything from crocheted jewelery to how to invest your first $10,000. Eight months later, thousands of teachers have used Skillshare to teach more than 15,000 hours of classes. A few have even quit their jobs to teach Skillshare classes full-time. While the startup began with classes clustered in New York City, it now has budding communities in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. Its site interface is already set up to accommodate more than 70 U.S. and International cities. There are no or few classes offered in most of them, but by the end of 2012, we’re betting there will be.

Zaarly, Taskrabbit or Something Similar

We’re pretty sure that the mobile, local version of Craigslist will gain traction in 2012. We’re just not settled on which one yet. Zaarly and TaskRabbit both allow users to find someone nearby to complete odd jobs. Zaarly also lets people request items like a reverse eBay. Both are liable to gain traction in 2012.

LevelUp/SCVNGR

While solutions such as Google Wallet try to introduce mobile payments through NFC technology at a time when there are few devices on the market that supports it, SCVNGR has launched a solution called LevelUp that works with any phone and any bank account. The app gives any merchant the ability to run a loyalty program that works similarly to the Starbucks App, which allows users to pay using a code displayed on their phone and collect reward points. LevelUp users link any credit or debit card to their LevelUp accounts the same way that Starbucks links a gift card to its app. When they get to a LevelUp merchant, the app generates a unique QR code at the register that can be scanned with a merchant app to pay. Merchants can add rewards to LevelUp that are already waiting for customers the first time that they use the app, and customers earn free credit at that merchant every time they spend money there using the app. Since launching in October, the app has signed up more than 100,000 users and has about 1,000 businesses. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has helped deploy more than 2,500 docking stations that stand in for the merchant app as a scanning mechanism at checkout counters. It’s a modest start, but LevelUp has all of the ingredients to become more widespread than competing mobile payment options.

Dwolla

Let’s be frank: transferring money through social networks sounds shady. Which is what makes it impressive that Dwolla, a payments startup that makes transfers through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels, was processing $1 million per day less than a year after launch. Dwolla’s 70,000 users make payments through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels by connecting their bank accounts to their Dwolla accounts. The service integrates with social networks to alert payment recipients there is money waiting for them in their own Dwolla accounts that can be transferred to their bank account. Payments of up to $10 are free and anything larger costs $0.25 — which is cheaper than paying a credit card fee. In December, the company launched a new feature called Instant that lets users pay on up to $500 of credit while waiting for bank transfers from their accounts, making this process instant.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is the oddball on our list of companies to watch in 2012 because the ticketing platform launched five years ago. But here are some reasons we think that 2012 is a good time to keep an eye on the startup: It’s on a growth streak. Last year it sold about 11 million tickets. This year it sold about 21 million. It’s being taken seriously by big events. This summer, for instance, it handled tickets for a Black Eyed Peas concert in New York City’s Central Park in addition to 458,000 other events (more than twice as many as last year). It’s expanding internationally. Eventbrite opened a London office in October and launched localized versions of its platform in Ireland and Canada in December. It’s offline. A new iPad app lets event organizer sell tickets through Eventbrite at the door. It could IPO. In a ZURB podcast this summer, Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz said that Eventbrite could file as early as 2012. “We have to continue to perform to very lofty expectations to do that,” he said.

Codecademy

Codecademy took something that scared people, learning JavaScript, and turned it into a game. And when it’s not intimidating, it turns out that learning how to code is something that a lot of people want to do. In its first 72 hours after launching this summer, Codecademy signed up 200,000 people for coding lessons. When it launched a New Years resolution class on Jan. 1, Code Year, it signed up 97,000 people in less than 48 hours to receive emails with weekly coding lessons. By the end of the week, more than 170,000 people had signed up for the class, including the Mayor. What’s interesting about Codecademy’s traction is that its product is still quite limited. Lessons are restricted to JavaScript, and there isn’t a clear pathway for working through the lessons. In 2012, Codecademy will expand to other coding languages, and as it does so, it will also expand its potential userbase. Thanks to Code Year, the startup will for the first time have thousands of students working on specific lessons around the same time, which could present an opportunity to add social features to the platform or create curriculum.

The 2012 Games, it’s sponsors and their legacy

As the London Olympic Games fast approaches (less than one year from now), Ive been exploring a little into the roles of its sponsors ultimately to see what they are hoping for from their significant association fees but also what part each has to play in the all important Olympic legacy that has been a part of the events important core message.

Here is a breakdown of the 46 core sponsors to this point, their role and what they will contribute, if anything, to the legacy.

Name of
partner
Role of partner Contribution to the Olympic
Legacy
Acer Acer will provide support
related to its technology, including defining and testing the PC equipment
for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Acer aims to provide winter
sports facilities within London. The indoor resorts will last beyond 2012 and
help to sustain the Olympic Legacy by promoting indoor sporting activities in
a city which would not normally have the opportunity to provide such facilities.
Adecco Adecco will be responsible for
the Organising Committee’s permanent and temporary recruitment up until 2012.
An online jobs board has been launched that features all available roles.
Diversity and inclusivness is key focus.
Adecco has partnered with the
British Olympics Association to launch the BOA Athletic Career Programme.
This initiative aims to help athletes before, during and after competition by
providing placements and other opportunities for financial support. The Athlete Career Fair will also help those athletes who are retiring after 2012 to find
work and support. Additionally, the online jobs board will specifically aim
to recruit a diverse workforce to the Games that is inclusive of people with
disabilities, from ethnic minorities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
adidas adidas will provide sportswear
for Olympic staff as well as kit for the British Olympic Association and
British Paralympic Association.
adidas will launch five
multi-sport outdoor venues called adiZones which will help to involve young
people in sport and other physical activities. They will also support the
Young Ambassadors movement, an initiative to train young ambassadors for the Games in an attempt to attract more young people to sport.
Aggreko Aggreko will provide temporary power supplies for the
Olympics.
Information unavailable
Airwave Airwave will provide private mobile radio service for use
within all Games venues.
Airwave will develop a specialist mobile radio communications system called Tetra, which is designed for emergency services and public safety agencies. Tetra will continue to develop after 2012 and provide new services in the London area.
ArcelorMittal ArcelorMittal will provide steel and other construction
services for the Olympic Games.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit tower is a new, 115m-tall sculpture that will be situated near the Olympic Stadium. It is expected to generate £10m per year in revenue and around 50 new jobs.
Atkins Atkins is the official
engineering design services provider for the Games, which includes help with
building design, acoustics, fire and accessibility advice for Games venues
across the UK.
Atkins will transform the Horse Guards Parade into an Olympic venue for the Beach Volleyball competition.
Atos Origin Atos Origin is responsible for
designing, integrating, testing, managing and securing the IT systems for the
Olympics.
Atos Origin aims to reduce IT
power consumption for the London Games, thereby promoting an environmentally   sustainable Olympics.
BMW BMW will supply more than 4000 cars and motorbikes for the
Olympic Games.
BMW’s Olympic Legacy involvement
includes the introduction of numerous electronic vehicles in an attempt to
create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Olympic Games.
BP BP will provide oil and fuel for
the 4,700 official vehicles during the Games, as well as car cleaning
services and liquified petroleum gas for catering needs.
BP aims to create an enduring
and reusable infrastructure for the Games, promoting sustainability around
London in the process.
British Airways British Airways is the official
airline for the Olympics, and it will fly Team GB to training sessions and
other events in the run-up to the Games.
British Airways will suport the
Great Britons programme by investing in a £500,000 fund for up to 180 flights
a year until 2012 allowing people to develop their talent and realise their
dreams
BT BT is a sustainability partner
for the Olympics and will provide the communications infrastructure for the
Olympic sites.
BT promises a green Olympic
legacy and will develop a methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of
its communications technology.
Cadbury Cadbury, as the official treat
provider to London 2012 will supply confectionary throughout the Games.
Cadbury has launched a campaign
to get people involved with physical activites. Called the Spots V Stripes
campaign, the aim is to get millions of people around the country involved in
playing ‘mini-games’.
CBS Outdoor CBS Outdoor is the official
outdoor advertising supplier for London 2012 and will supply outdoor media
space to support the major marketing campaigns up to 2012.
CBS Outdoor will sponsor the new
green energy lighting system for the landmark fountains in Trafalgar Square,
inspiring long-term environmental sustainability in time for the Olympics and
beyond. They will also CBS Outdoor will help market the vast volunteering
programme, which aims to involve 70,000 in the Olympics, using its outdoor
media space.
Cisco Cisco’s Borderless Network
architecture will enable a vast Network infrastructure, allowing athletes and
spectators around the world to connect with each other.
Cisco will help to transform the
Olympic Park by providing IP services to various systems around the area.
They will also develop a Innovation Centre which will promote technical
excellence and demonstrate how technology can transform local businesses and communities.
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola will provide beverages
for the millions of athletes, tourists and visitors to the Olympics. It is
also sponsor of the Torch Relay and will be funding athlete development and
training.
Coca-Cola will contribute to the
legacy vision of helping Britain get active by offereing free swimming via
bottles of Schweppes Abbey Well mineral water. In keeping with the theme of
sustainability, the company is increasing the number of recycle zones across
the country and will be seeking to reduce carbon emmissions through the use
of new technologies.
Crystal CG Crystal CG is the digital
imaging services supplier for the Olympics, which includes designing 3D
visualisations of Olympic venues.
Company unable to provide details
Deloitte Deloitte is the official
professional services provider for the Games and will help to organise and
distribute the nine million tickets around the world.
Deloitte will help shape the
business legacy of the Games by accelerating business performance and
providing a sustainable economic foundation for the future.
Dow The official chemistry company
of the Olympic Movement, Dow produces many of the products and materials
which form the building blocks of the Olympic Games, from the fibers of
swimsuits to the lightweight frames of bicycles.
Company unable to provide details
EDF EDF is a sustainability partner
for the Olympics and its role includes promoting climate change issues to
businesses and individuals
By aiming to save a tonne of CO2
from home energy use before 2012, EDF will help to inspire a decline in
carbon emissions. They will also team with the youth charity Envision in
order to support the Legacy Champions programme, a project to create a community
legacy for young people in six Olympic boroughs.
Eurostar Eurostar is the official international rail services provider
for the Olympics.
A new international station will
be built in Stratford by Eurostar which will provide a direct international
service for spectators during the Olympics and ebyond, increasing London’s
prestige as an international city.
Freshfields
Brukhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer LLP will be the official legal
provider for London 2012.
Freshfields will be supporting
three athletes in their quest to compete in the Games and is also part of the
Cultural Olympiad initiative to promote arts and culture. There is also a
‘Personal Challenge’ project for staff which encourages them to focus on
their own individual development before broadening its role to involve to
wider community.
GE GE will provide environmental
and infrastructure support, as well as cutting edge medical facilities for
the athletes
GE has donated £4.8 million
worth of medical equipment to Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East
London. This pledge will enhance the hospital’s care of premature and sick
babies and helo reduce the infant mortality rates across the Borough of Hackney.
GlaxoSmithKline GSK will supply laboratory services to the Games as well as
anti-dope facilities.
Through its anti-doping
facilities, GSK will set an ethical standard which will endure long after
2012.
Gymnova Gymnova is the official equipment supplier for the Olympic
Games.
Company unable to provide details
Heineken UK Heineken UK is the official lager supplier for the Olympics. Company unable to provide details
Holiday Inn Official Hotel Provider for the
Olympics. They will provide residential managers, receptionists and other
staff in the Athletes’ Village, as well as accommodating guests during and
after the Olympic and Paralympic Games.1,500 free nights will be provided to
emerging and established British athletes.
Holiday Inn will help visitors
from around the world explore the UK before, during and after the Olympics.
They will also employ aspiring athletes at numerous hotels to help them earn
money and build their work experience with a view to future careers.
John Lewis John Lewis is the official department store provider for the
Games.
The ‘Partners in Sport’
initiative from John Lewis involves sponsoring seven Olympics hopefuls as
well as funding sports coaches.
Lloyds TSB Lloyds TSB is the banking and
insurance partner of the Olympic Games and will support various businesses
through 2012 and beyond.
As part of its Legacy campaign,
Lloyds TSB has launched the Local Heroes programme which aims to help
emerging athletes by funding up to 600 hopefuls through the 2012 Games. They
will also support National School Sport Week.
McCann Worldgroup McCann Worldgroup is the official marketing services provider
for the Olympics.
Through FutureBrand, McCann
Worldgroup has designed and created the 2012 Legacy Corner. This major piece
of sustainable planning will transform the area into a new urban green space
and give an overlooked part of London a new park to enjoy for future generations
to enjoy post-Games.
McDonald’s McDonald’s will serve food to
more than 20,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of spectators over the
Olympic period.
McDonald’s aims to deliver an
Olympic legacy for farming. The company will be providing around 14 million
meals during the Olympics, an ideal opportunity for British agriculture.
Mondo Mondo is the official supplier of sports flooring and
equipment for the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Next Next will provide uniforms for
the technical officials at the Games and suits for London organising
committee staff.
Company unable to provide details
Omega Omega will provide time pieces
and various time systems and services, including electronic timing and
scoreboards, for the Olympic Games.
Company unable to provide details
P&G P&G’s brand portfolio will be utulised to reach over 4
billion consumers around the world.
The company will introduce an
ongoing dialogue with the mothers of Olympic athletes in an effort to help
shape future corporate acts.
Panasonic Panasonic will be providing the
Olympics with digital technology, including state-of-the-art audio and visual
equipment
Panasonic aims to improve
cultural life as part of the Cultural Olympiad project, a UK-wide celebration
of culture. Panasonic will provide opportunities for expression through its
Film Nation: Short initiative, where young people are encouraged to make films
that celebrate and support the Games.
Populus Populous is the official architectural and overlay design
services provider for the Games.
The overlay facilities are
designed to have a lasting impression while not damaging the charm of
London’s historical sites and buildings.
Samsung Samsung will provide wireless
equipment technology for the Olympic Games and will be the Presenting Partner
for the Olympic Torch Relay.
Company unable to provide details
Technogym Technogym is the fitness equipment supplier for the Olympics. technogym aim to promote a
fitness lifestyle that will endure beyond the 2012 Olympic Games.
The
Boston Consulting Group
BCG is the strategic consulting
provider for the Games and will advice on ticketing, merchandising,
sponsorship and revenue strategies.
Company unable to provide details
The Nielsen Company The Nielsen Company is the official market research services
provider for the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Thomas Cook Thomas Cook is the official
provider of ticket and accommodation short breaks for the Olympics
Company unable to provide details
Ticketmaster Ticketmaster is the official ticketing services provider for
the Games.
Company unable to provide details
Trident Trident is the official provider of chewing gum for the
Olympic Games.
Company unable to provide details
UPS UPS will operate as the lead logistics and express delivery
supporter of the Olympics.
UPS will deploy 14 purpose-built
electric vehicles as part of its green fleet project, with the aim to promote
and develop sustainable travel and delivery.
Visa Presenting partner of Team 2012,
a group of 1,200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are all striving to
compete at the London 2012 Games.
Visa’s contribution to the
Olympic Legacy involves a focus on youth. It says its commitment to youth is
demonstrated through its ongoing support of UNICEF, the Child Exploitation
and Online Protection Centre and local volunteering programmes which are devoted
to supporting young people through mentoring and coaching.

Five Compelling Storylines from The Open

Author: Henry Hyde @ Toonaripost

With the recent conclusion of The 140thBritish Open Championship, there are many storylines that the can be focused on.  Some of theses storylines include, the Success of Chubby Chandler, the wave of success that golfers from Northern Ireland have enjoyed and the struggles of Rory McIlroy, but more importantly the triumph of McIlroy’s fellow countryman, Darren Clarke, who was able to win his first major championship.

Luck of the Irish

It is the luck and fortune of Northern Ireland that is catching the golf world by surprise. With Darren Clarke’s recent British Open win, Northern Ireland has, “more of golf’s recent major champions than anyplace on Earth.” Speaking of Northern Ireland’s recent success, Clarke, a native of Northern Ireland himself, says, “We have fantastic golf courses, we have fantastic facilities. But to have three major champions from a little small place in a short period of time, it’s just incredible.”

The win by Clarke gives Northern a reason to boast; he is “Northern Ireland’s third major champion in the past 13 months” and cements the small country of Northern Ireland as the home to “three of the last six major winners.”

What makes Northern Ireland’s recent success and triumphs all the more amazing is the countries small size and population. As Jeff Shain, of the Orlando Sentinel, pointedly writes, “Statistically speaking, Northern Ireland covers about the same amount of land as Connecticut and boasts a population equivalent to metropolitan Charlotte.”

Rory McIlroy

Obviously, one major storyline coming into this British Open was how Rory McIlroy would fair, especially after coming off a phenomenal performance at the U.S. Open back in June. After shooting a dazzling total of 16 under par, though four days at the U.S. Open, McIlroy was rightly favored to win going into the British Open championship.

Compared to the caliber of play he showed he is capable of during the U.S. Open, McIlroy couldn’t muster up anything close to the same performance during this championship; McIlroy finished at a dismal seven over par through four days.   Even more horrendous was the fact that McIlroy finished the tournament tied for 25th on the leader board. The fact is he put up a very ugly and lackluster performance.

Darren Clarke

This British Open was Clarke’s 54th major of his career and his first major win; there is no doubt the guy has been around the block. Despite the 42-year-old Clarke not being as well recognized as the Tiger Woods’s and Rory McIlroy’s of the world, his win at the British Open cannot but be admired, especially considering his past.

The guy has gone through adversity. “Clarke lost his wife, Heather, to [breast] cancer in 2006”. Despite this devastating loss, Clarke has rebounded from this solemn past. Clarke’s turnaround from this heartbreaking tragedy is a story that defines perseverance; one would be hard pressed not to feel happy for the guy.

As BBC Sports reporter and blogger Rob Hodgetts eloquently states about Clarkes triumph at the Open championship “this is the vindication for a man who has weathered his share of life’s storms, but kept his eye on the prize and not lost his belief ”.  Before the Open trophy, Clarke was quoted saying, “I always believed I would get myself back up here…I always believed I had enough talent to challenge and win one.”

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that everyone who knows Clarke gets along with him. He is liked by many of his piers on the PGA Tour quite possibly because of his genuine and easygoing personality.  In reference to Clarke, Hodgetts says, “The man from Dungannon [Northern Ireland] had always been popular, with the public and fellow pros alike.

A man the fans could identify with, not a gym-obsessed robot. A man who liked a drink and a smoke and carried a bit of weight. Downing a pint of Guinness on the K Club balcony in celebration only served to reinforce the image.” He’s a down to earth guy who doesn’t mind having a bit of fun.

Chubby Chandler

An equally compelling storyline at the recently played British Open, is Agent Chubby Chandler’s. Chandler represents some of golf’s biggest stars, including all three of the golfers that have won major championships this year. If Chandler ends up representing the winner of the PGA Championship this year, a new term might come of it; that term is the “Chubby Slam”. “This year Charl Schwartzel (who won US Masters in April), Rory McIlroy and Clarke make up three-parts of the “Chubby Slam”.

The term grand slam in golf means that a golfer has won all four major championships in the same year. These four majors are, the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. Because he isn’t a golfer, Chubby Chandler isn’t technically qualified to win the grand slam.

However, if Chandler ends up representing the PGA champion, he would be an agent who has notched all four majors this year. If in fact Chandler does end up representing the winner for each of the four majors (this year), one could argue, it would be notionally the same as winning the grand slam.

Three Northern Irishmen: Three Competitors And Three Friends

Graeme McDowell, who was last year’s U.S. Open champion, relinquished this year’s U.S. Open trophy to his fellow countryman in Rory McIlroy. Following his outstanding performance at the U.S. Open (this year), McIlroy was heavily favored coming into the British Open (this year). However, like he beat Graeme McDowell (this year) Darren Clarke beat him in the British Open.

First, Graeme McDowell won a major, then, so did Rory McIlroy, and now Darren Clarke. These three fellow countrymen who are challengers on the golf course now share the bond of winning a major like the bond of friendship they share off the course. Despite their competitiveness on the golf course, all three have an unwavering unity for Northern Ireland and admiration and each other.

All three are known to be close friends.   Speaking of the relationship, Clarke says, There’s a huge rivalry between us all, but also a huge respect. We all get on great, otherwise we wouldn’t be in Chubby’s stable. We hang out and eat with each other a lot. But stepping on to the first tee, the competition is there and always has been.”

The Story starts with Clarke, who showed McDowell and McIlroy the path to success. As agent Chubby Chandler says, “Darren led them…Darren was the one who set the bar, went over [to the United States]. G-Mac’s followed him, and now Rory. It’s a great thing. They all look up to him.”

These guys all look up to one another and are truly supportive friends as well. This might be attributed to the fact that, “Northern Ireland is a very small place. It’s all a very close-knit community.” For example, it was Clarke who convinced McIlroy to sign with ISM’s (International Sports Management’s) agent, Chubby Chandler.

Now, these guys are tweeting each other and partying together after their big wins. After Clarke’s recent win at the British Open, McDowell tweeted, “Darren Clarke aiming to be the first Northern Irish golfer to win a major in almost four weeks!” McIlroy was equally excited by Clarke’s win tweeting “And the winner of the gold medal, the champion golfer of the year, from northern Ireland DARREN CLARKE!!!!!” In another tweet McIlroy proclaimed gleefully, “Northern Ireland…..Golf capital of the world!!” Since Clarkes win, MacIlroy has also tweeted, “@Theprincedc [Darren Clarke]” saying “you’ve made everyone proud!”

Despite the age difference between these guys, they still celebrate together too. There have been many parties taking place in Northern Ireland lately due to the success of these three guys. There was a “Party for G-Mac [last year] at Portrush and party for Rory a couple of weeks ago,” said Clarke.

“I’m sure they’ll have another one this week.” Clarke even skipped a tournament in Germany to join McIlroy in celebrating his US Open victory. The day after Clarke’s triumph McDowell tweeted,  he will, “probably [be] drinking a few pints with the 2011 Open Champ”. And how right he was; McDowell has since shared celebratory details of the three friends tweeting, “I won theGuinness pint-drinking contest (vs McIlroy & Clarke). That’s my first win of the season.”

Clarke said it all when he proclaimed, “We’re blessed to have obviously two fantastic players in Rory and Graeme and I’m just the old guy coming along behind them.” Clarke may be older but lest anyone forget, he is a core member of the fantastic trio from Northern Ireland that has taken the majors by storm, and he certainly enjoys a fresh pint of Guinness and a good celebration to boot, with his two fellow countrymen.

Compelling Enough?

I am sure that there are many people out there who will say this British Open wasn’t at all compelling, however I am not one of them. I was heartened to see 42-year-old Darren Clarke win a major. I am particularly heartened, because of the tumultuous hardship he must have gone through when his former wife passed away.

Now, Clarke can bask in the glory of what he has been dreaming since he was a young boy: winning the British Open. In the words of Clarke, it’s been a dream since I’ve been a kid to win the Open, like any kid’s dream is, and I’m able to do it, which just feels incredible.”

For me the Open was spectacular to watch. I was personally thrilled and enthralled seeing Darren Clarke accomplish this gratifying achievement and to see Clarke finally capture something he had been dreaming of, almost all his life. For a while the dream eluded Clarke; but, due to his perseverance, the dream finally came true.

European Tour: Every Shot Imaginable

The latest in the mildly viral promotional European Tour videos starring Stephen Gallacher, Pablo Larrazabel and Jeev Milka Singh.

See future compelling content fresh from the European Tour and the Saatchi & Saatchi Every Shot Imaginable campaign including the previous viral videos by visiting www.everyshotimaginable.com or by clicking the Every Shot Imaginable You Tube Channel here (clay pigeon golf) and here (200 yard Gong shot).