Recreational golf tends to be a very gentle game. You wake up early on a Sunday morning, mosey over to the local course with a buddy or two and spend the next few hours knocking a small white dimpled ball around a lush green landscape. You end up competing more with yourself than your golfing partners.
On the business side, golf is a blood sport. The companies that produce the clubs and balls stored in your car's trunk spend a lot of time at each others' throats--mostly over claims of patent and trademark infringement.
Q:Tell me about your role as GC.
A:Well, I really have three main responsibilities. The first one is to direct the company's litigation, and right now we have a very full plate. We're dealing with a lot of litigation and a lot of IP disputes. My second job is to serve as the company's primary antitrust lawyer. My third job is to manage the department.
Q:There seem to be a lot of patent infringement suits being filed in the golf industry.
A:It is a very, very competitive business. If you think about it, we're competing against much bigger companies [such as Acushnet, the company that owns the Titleist brand; Adidas; Nike; etc.] for a share of the market. One of the areas in which we compete is obtaining and enforcing our IP rights.
Q:What do you think of Callaway's new square-head driver? Does it really help you hit a straighter shot?
A:The FT-i is a terrific club. It has helped my game remarkably.
Q:What is the most memorable course you have ever played?
A:The old course at St. Andrews in Scotland. It was the most amazing experience. It started at about 2:30 in the afternoon, which meant we finished the round at about 7 p.m., when the sun was low in the sky. There is really no experience quite like walking down the 18th at St. Andrews.