4U Management

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ben and Heather Crane's Charitable Hearts

The PGA Tour has a Charitable heart.  This fact has been well documented.  The Tour surpassed $2 billion in charitable giving this year at Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.  Yes, $2 billion with a "B" not an "M".  This attention and commitment to giving back is one of the most appealing aspects of the PGA Tour.  It says the Tour truly has a heart.

Let's take a look at one golfer and his wife in relation to the commitment they have to charities.  Ben and Heather Crane support several charities.  They chose 2 charities in 2005 for their charity golf tournament to benefit.  Ben and Heather have stuck with those two ever since.  It has been an incredible experience.  This year they surpassed $2.5 million mark at their event in January.

Hope Farm  www.hopefarminc.org is one of the two.  Hope Farm is an after school program in Ft. Worth.  They have taken back the community, renovating a prior crack house and turning it into a safe place for boys who have no fathers.

Last year Hope Farm celebrated the opening of their new community center.  The center is equipped with a commercial kitchen and sports court.  Much of the money for this project came from the Ben and Heather Crane Charities.

Hope Farm was started by a former police officer, Gary Randle.  Gary realized he was never going to help the cycle of a criminal unless he could reach boys while they were still young.  The boys in the program go to Hope Farm after school where they are loved as they complete their homework, play sports, music, and have dinner.

The other organization is Love 146 www.love146.org.  Love 146 is dedicated to ending child sexual exploitation.  Heather traveled to Cambodia for the first time in 2005.  She has served on Love 146's board for 8 years.  This organization has a wide range of involvement in various advocacy, prevention, and after care efforts in both SE Asia and the United States.  They have a safe house in Manila and a drop in center/soup kitchen for homeless kids in Manila.  Love 146 is also working hard at implementing a prevention education curriculum in schools across the U.S.

The headquarters for Love 146 is in New Haven, Connecticut and they recently open an office in Houston.  In the past 6 months they have reached 2,300 youth in Texas, Connecticut, and Maryland.  This has led to 76 disclosures of human trafficking/sexual abuse.  The presence of abuse children is staggering!  The challenge is to provide appropriate after care/therapy for those students who are identified as being in dangerous situations.

Two of Ben's sponsors on tour are Zurich and Farmers Insurance.  He and Heather have grateful hearts to Zurich and Farmers for their involvement in these causes.  These two companies are also very active with the PGA Tour and their Charities.  They also sponsor two tournaments on the PGA Tour: The Farmers Insurance Open at La Jolla, which Ben won in 2010 and the Zurich Classic at New Orleans which comes up in a few weeks.

It is easy for me to get excited every day when I know I represent people like Ben and Heather Crane who give so much back to the world.  I feel the same way about the charitable aspects of the PGA Tour.  A good comparison is the NFL which has awarded $370 million to charities in the past 40 years.  This is good.  Yet, the PGA Tour is now over $2 billion.

Thank you, Lord, for people who see needs beyond themselves and treat others the way we would all want to be treated.  Thank you Ben and Heather!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Goodbye to a Great Man

Seldom have I met a person I connected with as quickly as I did with Frank "Buddy" Seeling.  Maybe it was because he played football at Tulane and I coached college football 21 years. That gave us an initial common ground for communication. Those early conversations only opened the door to much deeper and meaningful sharing of thoughts and beliefs.

Early on I joked with Buddy about how he out-punted his coverage when he married Angele. Tragically we lost Buddy yesterday in a motorcycle accident in New Mexico. Buddy and Angele were pushed into a guard rail by a semi-truck while vacationing with friends. Angele had surgery yesterday and hopefully will be returning to New Orleans Monday. They were such a special couple! Our prayers are constantly being lifted up for Angele and the four children, Buster, Michael, Catherine, and Christopher.

What are the traits of a great man?  If it is to be a man of faith, Buddy was a great man.  If it is to be a  great husband, I certainly believe he was that.  If being a wonderful and loving Father, my conversations with Buddy indicated the depth of love he had for his children.

Sometimes the world judges people in a different way.  He was a great man in that way as well. He loved New Orleans!  He graduated from Archbishop Rummel High School.  Buddy then stayed home and went to Tulane on a football scholarship. He has had a successful business there.  He became very civic minded.

When I met Buddy it was at the home of Billy McGriff in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Billy was hosting a party at The Player's Championship. He was president of the company that I negotiated Ben Crane's Zurich contract with.  Buddy was there as Chairman of the Fore!Kids Foundation which is the backbone of the @Zurich_Classic of New Orleans. My good friend, Dick Kearns of Zurich introduced us.  We had more fun laughing and talking.

One of the highlights of going to the Zurich Classic since then has been spending time with Buddy and Angele. The Fore!Kids Foundation continued to be a big part of Buddy and Angele's life even though he was no longer Chairman of the Board. We saw them at all of the functions and sneaked in quality time.

One important mention of the Fore!Kids Foundation.  It has raised over $23 million providing healthcare, education, and hope for over 200,000 kids each year. It is 100% for kids!

Several years ago Buddy headed a search committee charged with finding the person to run the Zurich Classic of NewOrleans. He hit a home run for the city of New Orleans. He persuaded one the most gifted and experience people in this country to come home to Ne Orleans. Steve Worthy was not only a native but went to LSU. He swallowed his Tulane pride and hired the best man. Steve had been running the highly successful AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after doing the same thing at Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament.  Steve had also had great success with the USGA and deeply involved with the U.S. Open and most ventures sponsored by the USGA.

Buddy's smile was contagious, his warmth and genuineness were obvious, his love of family, city and country was proven.  You will be missed Buddy!

When Frank, "Buddy" arrived at the gates of heaven yesterday I believe he was greeted with, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

College Football vs Professional Golf

Most sports fanatics have a favorite sport. Managing Golfers for almost as long, 19 years, as I coached college football, 21 years, has given me quite a perspective to compare these two high profile sports. I have been blessed to be inside the arena and inside the ropes of the oblong ball and the dimpled ball.

What lessons have I learned?

There are many differences in the two sports. Football is a team sport. Professional golf is an individual sport. The fan support is more rabid in football. One can hardly hear the person next to you in huge football stadiums during the heat of the game. The quietness while a golfer is hitting or putting can be as quiet as grass growing. Football is brutal. Golf is a gentlemen's game. Football players run, tackle, throw, catch, block, lift heavy weights, and have every minute of every practice planned by coaches. There is no wasted time or movement. Golfers drive, hit irons chip, putt, lift lighter weights and basically make their own practice plans. They do have input from coaches and others about how to practice but it is still usually up to them. Football season is seasonal. Golf season is year-round. Successful football careers are much shorter than successful PGA Tour careers.

Football players at the intercollegiate level and professional Golfers both work and train all 12 months. It is well known how hard football players work. It is not well known how hard Golfers work. Contrary to popular belief, the life of a PGA Tour golfer is tough. The popular train of thought is, "PGA Tour Golfers show up, warm up, putt a little and play 18 holes of golf, period!" That thought falls so short of what these Golfers days are like. Early tee times call for rising between 4:00 and 5:00, departing for the course, stretching with trainer, eating, putting, going to range then back to putting green ( an hour and 10 minutes or so) before teeing off. The 18 holes on Thursday and Friday are usually about 5 hours. Lunch follows before going back to range and/or putting green for more work. These can often be 10-12 hour days. Weeks they are not on tour many times are even tougher. They work hard!

I miss the relationships you develop with your players as a football coach. My clients ( Golfers) as I manage their careers often become like family. That is always my goal. There are just fewer relationships in golf than in football when you coach more players.

My years in college football I ran across many intentional rules violations. This was the toughest part of college athletics for me. Golfers call rules violations on themselves. Where else does that happen? I genuinely love the honor and integrity that is at the very fabric of golf.

Finally, My 19 years in golf at this level has convinced me Golfers know less how to practice than any other professional athlete I am aware of. This is simply through observation. There are exceptions to this thought. Those who truly know how to practice generally have the most success.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Zurich Classic has a "Heart"

It has been just over18 years since I began representing professional golfers.  I have been told by many I should blog more about some of my experiences.  I love the game of golf.  I love the fact that golf is about integrity.  I love the Charitable side of golf.  The PGA Tour is very much about Charity.  Golf does have a "Heart".  I am going to try to blog about some of my thoughts and experiences in this arena.

PGA Tour events are fun for fans to attend or watch on television.  There is much more to those events than watching the golfers.  Each event places a strong emphasis on charity fundraising, usually on behalf of local charities in cities where events are staged.  With the exception of a few older events, PGA Tour rules require all Tour events to be non-profit.  The Tour has raised well over a billion dollars for charity. 

This brings me to one specific event I wish every golfer eligible would participate in.  The Zurich Classic in New Orleans stands for everything good about the PGA Tour.  The recovery New Orleans has experienced since Hurrican Katrina hit is due in part to the success of the Zurich Classic.  This event was the first sporting event televised nationally from New Orleans after Katrina.  It showed the nation the city was alive and moving forward.  The Zurich Classic and ForeKids Foundation is all about Charity.  I have never experienced a sponsor with a more charitable "Heart' than Zurich Insurance Group.  I am not aware of an event with a more charitble "Heart' than the Zurich Classic and the ForeKids Foundation where 100% of donations and proceeds go directly to programs for needy children.

When Katrina so devastated New Orleans in 2005 and became one of the strongest storms to impact the coast of the United Sates in over 100 years something remarkable happened.  Zurich Insurance had signed as a title sponsor for the New Orleans PGA Tour event in the spring of 2005.  Katrina hit the "Big Easy" in August of 2005.  Zurich could have backed out of their committment at that time.  What did Zurich do?  I'm glad you asked! 

Zurich proved it has a "Heart". This PGA Tour sponsor based in Zurich, Switzerland flew executives in to view the damage caused by the Hurricane.  They went to Tulane University which had closed their doors for the first time since the Civil War and handed them a check for 75 million dollars.  Tulane was the largest private employer in the city of New Orleans.  Thanks in part to Zurich, Tulane was quickly up and running again and became the city's single largest employer-public or private.  The Civic Center that housed so many homeless people during this crisis was also insured by Zurich.  They, too, received a huge check from Zurich.  The amazing thing about these checks is how quickly they were made available in an attempt to help this great city get back on it's feet.

The PGA Tour proved, once again, it has a "Heart".  Days after the storm hit in 2005 Phil Micelson made a contribution to the recovery effort along with the likes of Hal Sutton, David Toms and Kelly Gibson.  Ben Crane and is family traveled to New Orleans to help tear down destoyed homes.  Many other golfers joined in.  The Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Foundation began making yearly contributions of $250,000 for continued support of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.  A number of golfers committed their entire earnings that week to Hurrican Katrina Relief.

This background I have outlined begs the question, "why does every top golfer not commit to the Zurich Classic and play in this event?"  Since I represent PGA Tour golfers I know the answer is generally scheduling.  Every golfer has a set way and a reason why they select the schedule they play.  All golfers eligible for the major championships will schedule those events first along with the WGC events.  Those who have won tournaments should schedule that event as well.  Then, plug in the Zurich Classic!  They do not all do that but I wish they would.  A golfer cannot make a better decision that would impact everything the Tour stands for.  Then, work the rest of your schedule around this.  Steve Worthy, Chairman of the Board of the Fore Kids Foundation and Darrah Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of the Zurich Classic can be seen at Tour events most weeks leading up to the Zurich Classic.  They are always scrambling to secure the names of top golfers to compete in their event.  I cannot imagine a city or tournament having two better representatives than these men.

Golfers love to eat.  Don't we all.  New Orleans has some of the best restaurants and chefs in the United States.  Emeril's is a must!  There is not room or time to list the great restaurants in The Crescent City. While there you have to try Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice and Beignets. One more reason to make this event a priority.

The Wednesday Pro-Am day is the favorite Pro-Am of the year for the pros.  The top restaurants have stations throughout the 18 holes.  They are located just off the tee box on most holes.  Players and caddies certainly have a genuine "Taste of New Orleans" after those rounds.  A few managers have sneaked inside the ropes on these days.  Don't tell anyone.

Are you a music lover?  The New Orleans Jazz Fest coincides with the weekend of the Zurich Classic.  It is possibly the very best musical festival in the United States.

The past winners have included names like Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Davis Love III, Lee Westwood, David Toms, K.J. Choi, Vijay Singh, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner to name a few. The tournament is now held at TPC of Louisiana after being at several different venues dating back to 1938.

I am still looking for a reason for a golfer to not select the Zurich Classic as a must on their golf calendar!

Monday, January 28, 2013



Tommy Limbaugh is a great man.  Tommy is the founder and CEO of 4U Management, a sports marketing company.  Tommy also married way, way up to his sweet wife Marcia.  Here is some scoop on Tommy:

“Tommy was Coach Limbaugh for 21 years at the Division I level before entering the business of professional sports. Tommy began his collegiate career at Texas Tech University in 1975. He then moved to the University of Mississippi serving as recruiting coordinator and assistant football coach. In only his second year in that position, he led Ole Miss in signing its first ever top-10 recruiting class in football.

After stints in the SWC and SEC, Tommy moved to the ACC as a member of Duke University's football staff. Once again he was recruiting coordinator and served as an assistant coach. Those years at Duke laid the groundwork for the first ACC Football Championship in 29 years. In 1986, recruiting guru, Max Emfinger, said during signing week that "Duke is vying for a top 5 berth" in terms of national success.

In 1987, Tommy left Duke for his alma mater the University of Alabama. While at Alabama, Tommy helped recruit the nucleus of the 1992 national championship team. Tommy also served as associate athletic director at Alabama. Among his many duties in that position was the implementation of a ticket marketing program for football. The program "Tide Pride" has been the most successful in the history of intercollegiate athletics. "Tide Pride" has generated more than $150 million for the University of Alabama Athletic Department. He also helped to successfully negotiate a multi-million dollar radio contract between the University of Alabama and Host Communications.

Tommy then moved to Lexington, Kentucky and the University of Kentucky as assistant head football coach and recruiting coordinator. While at Kentucky, four of five recruiting classes were ranked in the top 15 nationally.”

I have walked many a golf course with Tommy, sat in meetings, and shared meals.  Today I want to just give you 5 ways that I see Tommy is above so many people I meet in how he STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD!

Tommy is nicer than 99% of the people out there.  I have run into Tommy at a lot of golf tournaments.  I have people with me almost all of the time.  We run into each other, talk for a bit, and then separate.  The person I am with always says something like, “Wow, that Tommy is so nice.”  How does he do it?

Tommy asks questions.  Tommy remembers your name.  Tommy takes an interest in who you are and what you are about.  As the day continues forward he will check in again, and once he has met you, it appears you are friends for life.

Tommy is motivational in how he communicates.  There is no question that Tommy was an athlete.  He just exudes a “get it done” mentality.  He will be the first to say, “You can do it!”  Just walking next to him and talking makes you feel that you can do more than you thought you could.

Tommy also keeps the “main thing the main thing.”  He has helped many an athlete keep on task and target.  There is a sense of security that comes from his confidence.

Tommy is a family man first.   Yesterday I heard about Tommy’s mothers house.  I heard that they had every Christmas there up to even this year.  (His mother passed last April and they kept the house to have one final Christmas.)  He said, it didn’t matter where I was in the football bowl schedule – “if I had to drive 20 hours from Lubbock to get to Mom’s, I was there!  Family is that important.”

Tommy is a great story teller.  This is one way to assist any dinner, lunch, or meeting.  Be a good story teller.  Yes, you have to have the material, and yes, you have to deliver the goods.  Tommy can do both.  I remember one night hearing a story of Tommy’s recruiting days for Alabama – everyone was on the edge of their seat, drawn back into that moment, and it was riveting.

Tommy works hard, is available, and shows up.  Tommy comes from the cloth of “get it done.”  A late night phone call, a last minute flight, a flurry of texts, calls, and emails to get a situation under control.  Tommy knows that we “vote with our feet.”  He makes sure he is there in the flesh when it’s important.

I learn a lot of how I want to be as a leader.  I think that this list helps me and I am thankful to Tommy for giving me some things to “shoot for.”  Thanks Tommy!



ericscofield | January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am | Categories: Transformation Friday | URL:http://wp.me/p2Ab8B-kk
From July 2012...

Two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen is a special man.  I have represented him since 1995.  My respect for him has grown each year.

The USGA did not give an exemption to Lee this year when the U.S. Open returned to The Olympic Club in San Francisco for the first time since Janzen won his 2nd U.S. Open there in 1998.  He defeated his close friend Payne Stewart by 1 shot.  This is the same Payne Stewart he went head-to-head with in 1993 winning his 1st U.S. Open at Baltusrol by 2 strokes.

Lee, in my opinion, deserved the exemption.  He is still in his 40's and is an active golfer on the PGA Tour.  He has played every your on the PGA Tour since 1990.  He represents the TOUR with class.  When he did not receive the exemption to this year's U.S. Open he was hurt and disappointed.  He did not say that to me but I felt those emotions from him.  Lee said all of the right things.  My opinion is Lee made a decision at this time to go full speed on the Web.Com Tour for the remainder of the 2012.  He believed this to be his best chance to get his PGA Tour card back.  He was playing on a past champions catagory which gave him only limited access in his attempt to move into the top 125 on the money list.  He is currently 174 on that money list with one top 10 finish at the John Deere Classic and has made 8 of 11 cuts on the PGA Tour this year.

The Web.com Tour is in Jacksonville this week at Dye's Valley Course.  Janzen has two top tens, an 2nd and 9th, in his 14 events on this tour 1n 2012.  He enters this week 61st on the web.com money list.  The top 60 move on to next weeks


PING signs short-game expert

Stan Utley to represent company


PHOENIX (January 22, 2013) – Stan Utley, a renowned short-game instructor and author, has contracted with PING to represent the club maker in various capacities, beginning with an appearance in PING’s exclusive custom-fitting area at this week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.

“We’ve known Stan since his college days at the University of Missouri,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “He played and won with PING® equipment on tour and we’ve since watched him evolve into one of the most trusted short-game instructors in golf. We’re excited to have Stan back as part of the PING family as we share the same goals. We both want to help golfers play better and enjoy the game more. He’ll be a great asset to PING in a number of ways.”

Utley, who teaches out of Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., played PING equipment during his years competing on the PGA Tour. In the time since, he’s been coaching tour players, conducting short-game clinics worldwide, giving private lessons and entertaining corporate clients. He’s also on the instruction staff at Golf Digest magazine.  

“I’ve had great admiration for PING clubs ever since I played my first set in college,” Utley said. “In particular, PING’s fitting systems are the most thorough and precise in golf. As an instructor, it makes my job much easier because students improve faster when they’re properly fitted for their clubs. Their advancements in putter fitting with the iPING® putting app and adjustable-length putters not only improve performance, but they open tremendous opportunities from a teaching and practice perspective. That’s especially exciting for me because helping golfers improve their putting is one of my passions.”

Utley, 51, was a two-time All-American at the University of Missouri and turned professional in 1984. He won the PGA Tour’s 1989 Chattanooga Classic, and three times on what is today the Web.com Tour. He still holds the PGA Tour record for fewest putts in nine holes with six at the 2002 Air Canada Championship. Utley is the author of four instructional books, “The Art of Putting,” “The Art of the Short Game,” “The Art of Scoring” and “The Art of the Swing.”