Mizuno USA Reinforces Commitment to Accelerated Growth by Realigning Management Structure and Hiring Corporate VP of Sales
by Harper Cornell on April 1, 2014
Mizuno USA announced realignment of its executive management team to drive accelerated growth. As of part of these changes, Dick Lyons has been promoted to Senior VP/GM – Product Divisions, and Chris Walsh has been hired to serve as Corporate Vice President of Sales, a newly created position. Both individuals will report to Bob Puccini, President of Mizuno USA, Inc. and Director of Mizuno Corporation.
“Mizuno USA has seen strong growth, tripling sales since 2000 and we have even higher expectations in the future,” said Puccini. “To achieve our goals and to continue to build brand relevance not only with consumers, but also with our trade customers, we need to adapt our organization to the needs of the constantly changing business environment. Our purpose in creating the new structure is to leverage best-in-class practices in key business areas of all our divisions while maintaining our focus and authenticity in each specialty sport category. With highly talented executives leading our innovation, sales and marketing efforts, we will continue to deliver superior specialty brand experiences. I am confident our new structure will elevate our performance to the next level as a leading multi-category specialty brand.”
Dick Lyons joined Mizuno USA in 2001 as VP/GM of the Golf Division. In July 2013, he assumed responsibility for the Team Sports Division including Baseball, Softball and Volleyball business units. With this promotion, Dick will be responsible for all product divisions, including Running.
“Dick is an industry veteran and he has proven himself as a smart business leader delivering superior results, even under the toughest conditions,” said Puccini.
Before joining Mizuno USA, Chris Walsh worked at Reebok International, Ltd. for the last 26 years, most recently as Vice President of US Sales, Reebok Brand. During his tenure at Reebok, Chris delivered strong results by developing and overseeing the execution of channel strategies for Specialty, Multi-Sport, Team Dealer and Online channels. Mizuno USA sales teams for Running, Golf and Team Sports will immediately start reporting to the Corporate Vice President of Sales.
“Chris brings to us proven experience in our industry, strong understanding of all the channels we serve, and most importantly a brand centric approach,” said Puccini. “He will ensure category focus and heightened level of service to each one of our channels while achieving consistency in how our brand is presented.”
“I am thrilled to join Mizuno USA to get after the ambitious goals already set for the business,” said Walsh. “In today’s constantly changing world, we believe the unequaled heritage, authenticity and purity of the Mizuno brand are great assets, not only for us, but also for our trade partners. I look forward to leveraging these assets for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”
Furthermore, Rod Foley has been promoted to Vice President, Product Management – Running, reporting to Dick Lyons. In this role, Rod will work closely with the Portland Design Center and global product teams in Japan to drive performance running innovation.
“Rod joined Mizuno USA as a Running Division Territory Manager in 2000 and has held multiple roles rising through the ranks, giving him broad and deep experience in the running business,” said Puccini. “This latest promotion demonstrates our confidence in him to deliver continuous innovation to fuel our lofty growth ambitions in this category.”
Mizuno USA Signs Atlanta Braves Shortstop Andrelton Simmons to Multi-Year Glove Deal
by Harper Cornell on March 26, 2014
Simmons Bolsters Mizuno’s Star-Studded Lineup of Elite Shortstops
Norcross, Ga. – Mizuno USA has signed a multi-year partnership as the official glove provider for the defensive phenom and Atlanta Braves shortstop, Andrelton Simmons.
“I’ve always known Mizuno as a brand that delivers only the highest-quality products, and I am excited to become a member of the family,” said Simmons. “Mizuno bestows a strong personal commitment to its players and our success, and that was evident to me from start.”
Shortstop is one of the most demanding defensive positions on the diamond. Simmons brings yet another high-caliber shortstop to Mizuno’s growing roster of professional athlete ambassadors choosing to play with Mizuno. This select group of shortstops includes Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals and Jose Iglesias of the Detroit Tigers.
“In a short time Andrelton has quickly earned a reputation as one of the game’s brightest young shortstops in the major leagues, and this is only the start for this budding young talent,” said Steve Mikolajczak, Team Sports Division Brand Manager, Mizuno USA. “Not only will Andrelton put our product to the test and represent the brand well on the field, he will be a great resource to help us shape future baseball glove technology to come.”
Mizuno has been a fixture in the American baseball and softball landscape for more than 30 years. Check out other baseball pros using Mizuno product at www.mizunousa.com/baseball.
Mizuno USA Announces Plans to Open New State of the Art Distribution Center in 2015
by Harper Cornell on March 12, 2014
Today Mizuno USA, a global leader in sports apparel, footwear and equipment, announces the relocation of all distribution facilities and manufacturing operations to a new 520,000 square-foot facility in Braselton, Ga. by 2015. The new Mizuno USA Distribution Center significantly increases the current supply chain footprint to meet emerging and future supply chain needs.
“Mizuno USA has seen strong growth, tripling sales since 2000,” said Bob Puccini, President of Mizuno USA, Inc. and Director of Mizuno Corporation. “Our growth expectations are even higher for the next five years with award-winning innovations and increased spending in brand marketing initiatives. This investment is a critical next step for our business to be able to service the omni-channel supply needs of our customers and consumers.”
The new facility will merge Mizuno’s two distribution center facilities to service all Mizuno USA divisions, running, golf, team sports, and move the golf manufacturing center from Norcross, Ga., increasing industry leading custom golf club production capabilities two-fold. Current Mizuno employees will transition to the new facility in late 2014 following building renovations.
“The new Braselton Distribution Center provides Mizuno with capabilities needed to provide best-in-class supply chain services across the country,” said Josh Creasman, Vice President of Supply Chain. “Our customers will benefit from the multi-million dollar infrastructure investments Mizuno is making in technology and automation solutions focused on supporting an ever changing marketplace.”
Mizuno has operated out of Norcross, Ga. since 1982. With the growing business needs, the facility space options and location led Mizuno to Barrow County.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Mizuno USA to Barrow County,” said Pat Graham, Barrow County Commission Chairman. “We appreciate their investment and also the job opportunities they bring to Barrow County.”
The distribution center will have 150 full time positions and bring seasonal work opportunities starting in 2015. Mizuno USA corporate offices will remain in Norcross, Ga.
EZ Win for Donald at the Dunlop Phoenix
by Iver Maple on November 25, 2013
Donald with JPX EZ hybird.
Luke Donald secured his first win of the year by defending his title at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan.
The 35-year-old Englishman started the final round with a two-shot lead over South Korea's Kim Hyung-Sung - following his two-over-par 73 in the first round with scores of 66 and 65. Donald used his MP-64 irons, MP-T4 wedges and new JPX EZ hybrid to cruise to victory with a last round, five-under 66, including seven birdies and two bogeys.
Donald has recently switched to the new JPX EZ hybrid and taken on veteran swing coach Chuck Cook in a quest to improve his long game - all in an effort to be more competitive in the majors during 2014. The move has born early fruit with Donald also showing good form in strong company the previous week in Dubai.
"Everything I'm doing now is in mind of 2014 and getting into contention more regularly at the majors," said Donald. "Even when I was #1, my game worked back from the hole and was probably too reliant on my short game. You don't get that luxury at the majors.
"Everything I’m working on is about consistency with the long game - Chuck is encouraging me to use the bigger muscles more - less lateral movement and trying to take away the flip at impact. The EZ hybrid is something else I’ve added to the bag to make the long approaches more consistent and something I can rely on under pressure."
Donald's win was more impressive for having his agent Oliver Banks standing in at the last moment for caddie John McLaren - given the week off as his wife was expecting their second child. Donald may be sharing more than his cash winnings with the temporary caddy - victory also earned Donald a $50,000 shipment of revered Miyazaki beef, the most expensive in the world.
"I'm very excited. My last win as a professional was last year at the Dunlop. It's great to come here and win again. This is a great tournament with some great winners and I'm very proud to have won it back-to-back now."
Donald is the first player to win the Dunlop, one of Japan's richest tournaments, for two straight years since Tiger Woods triumphed in 2004 and 2005.
Stacy Lewis Returns to Defend Mizuno Classic
by Iver Maple on November 6, 2013
Mizuno's world #3 Stacy Lewis has returned to Japan to defend her Mizuno Classic title. Lewis looked fresh from a 3 week break, joining Mizuno President Akito Mizuno for the Pro Am - making 6 birdies over the front nine.
Lewis was the first American in almost 20 years to win the Mizuno Classic in 2012 - a tournament co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the LPGA of Japan Tour.
At No. 3 in the Rolex women’s world rankings, Lewis is the only player among the LPGA’s “Big Three” scheduled to play when the 54-hole event begins Friday in Japan. No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 2 Suzann Pettersen are scheduled to return to action next week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Lewis is committed to all three of the year’s remaining events. She’s one of five players among the top 10 in the world scheduled to play at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club this week with No. 4 So Yeon Ryu, No. 7 Shanshan Feng, No. 8 Karrie Webb and No. 10 Catriona Matthew also playing.
Lewis is seeking her fourth LPGA title of 2013, which would equal her win total from a year ago, when she became the first American in 18 years to win the Rolex Player of the Year award. After making top-10 finishes in the first two events of this fall’s Asian swing, Lewis is coming off a three-week break.
“You just try to be fresh,” Lewis said. “I’m not playing all the Asia tournaments just because I want to be fresh when I am playing, and I want to play good and have a chance to win. So it’s about managing your energy level at the end of the season because everyone is tired, everybody is ready for the off season.”
A year ago, Lewis wrapped up the Rolex Player of the Year award winning in Japan. She came from seven shots down in the final round to win. She’s a long shot to win the Rolex POY award this year. She would have to win the final three events just to have a chance. Park leads the Rolex POY race with 290 points. Pettersen is next with 252. Lewis is third with 200. There are 30 points available to this week’s winner, 30 at the Lorena Invitational next week and 30 at the CME Group Titleholders.
Lewis, though, is very much alive in trying to become the first American in 19 years to win the Vare Trophy, the award for the LPGA’s low scoring average. Lewis leads the tour in scoring this season with a 69.53 average. Suzann Pettersen is next with a 69.59 average and Inbee Park is third at 69.93.
Stacy "I've managed to keep up the momentum since winning the Mizuno Classic here last year, and have even been able to mark some career goals this season. The fans and crowds in Japan are always great, and I hope I can sink those putts and be in contention on Sunday."
Stacy Lewis Captures Her Second Major, the 2013 Women’s British Open
by Iver Maple on August 5, 2013
Mizuno Ambassador Stacy Lewis shot a final-round, even-par 72 at the famed Old Course to win her second-career major championship with a two-shot victory over South Koreans Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park. Lewis birdied the 71st and 72nd holes of the tournament to move her to 8-under par which proved to be the winning score.
"We're at the home of golf,” said Lewis. “To end birdie-birdie is amazing. It's been a perfect day."
The victory is Lewis’ second major win and first since the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship which was also the last time an American claimed a major title. The win snapped a streak of 10 winless majors for the United States.
“I'm pretty excited about that,” said Lewis. “I guess it was the longest stretch we've ever had for an American gap; I don't know if that's for sure. But we get asked about it. I got asked about it this week. Every major, we get asked about it, and it definitely gets old, so more than anything, you guys can't ask me the question for awhile.”
Lewis started her day on Sunday with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call and had 36 holes to play after tournament play was suspended on Saturday due to high winds. She got off to solid start, shooting a 3-under 69 for her third round score, and began the final round one shot off third-round leader and fellow American Morgan Pressel. It came down to the final two holes, with Stacy carding two clutch birdies to give her the outright lead.
“I hit the perfect golf shot (on 17),” said Lewis. “I mean, that was the shot ‑‑ I saw the shot in my head, but to actually pull it off, when it counts, it doesn't ‑‑ a shot like that doesn't happen very often. So I knew after I hit it close, I was like, all right, I have to make this putt; somehow this putt was going to go in, because the shot was so good.”
Finishing on a high note, Lewis still had to wait for Choi to finish out her last three holes. Choi didn’t do herself any favors after finding trouble in the deep rough on the 17th hole. She chipped to six feet but pushed her par putt to drop two shots behind Lewis. She failed at holing out from the fairway on the 18th and the title was Stacy’s.
“It's up there with the Kraft, for sure,” said Lewis. “The finish might be even be better than the Kraft truthfully. I made a pretty good putt at the Kraft, too. 17 must be my hole for some reason. It might be ahead of the Kraft. To make those two birdies on 18, that's probably the hardest hole location we had all week there. And to birdie 17, any day, is good, let alone the final round of a major.”
Congratulations Stacy! We can’t wait to see what you do next.
Mizuno USA Appoints New Vice President of Latin America
by Harper Cornell on July 22, 2013
Rodrigo C. Silveira, former adidas Group Senior Executive, Hired as VP of Latin America to Elevate Brand in the Region
Mizuno USA, a global leader of sports apparel, footwear and equipment, has selected Rodrigo C. Silveira as Vice President of Latin America. Silveira will primarily and initially focus on working with Mizuno’s Brazilian-based regional and long-time industry partner Alpargatas, to build on the significant growth already achieved in that market.
Silveira brings more than 17 years of industry experience with a proven track record of successful financial results and operational excellence to Mizuno. His proven experience driving key business initiatives throughout Latin America, including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Chile, was an essential requirement in the final selection process.
“Latin America is a critical piece of Mizuno Corporation’s global brand strategy,” said Bob Puccini, President Mizuno USA, Inc., Chairman, Mizuno Canada, Ltd., and Director of Mizuno Corporation. “Rodrigo’s extensive background, including his understanding of the marketplace and the region’s culture, as well as local business best practices made him the right person for the role, and we are fortunate to have him join the Mizuno team, especially ahead of upcoming major international sporting events in Brazil.”
Prior to joining Mizuno, Silveira held several senior executive roles at adidas Group Latin America where he represented the Reebok brand. These roles included the development of an integrated subsidiary format in three countries and successful negotiation of new distribution agreements in Central America and Caribbean countries. In his latest role as Brand Director Brazil and Argentina -
Reebok, he led the efforts In establishing a stronger relationship with joint venture partners in those markets and in driving the implementation and execution of global processes and key brand initiatives as outlined by the US-based brand headquarters.
Silveira received a Master of Science in Marketing from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, both in São Paulo, Brazil.
All inquiries can be directed to email@example.com.
Bob Puccini Profiled in SGB Weekly
by Harper Cornell on July 19, 2013
In the latest issue of SGB Weekly, Mizuno USA President, Bob Puccini shares his professional background and where he gets his passion and inspiration for the sporting goods industry. The full article by Aaron Bible is below.
Bob Puccini's passion for sports and competition has transcended across his professional career. He joined Mizuno USA in August 1995 as vice president and general manager of Mizuno’s diamond, athletic footwear/apparel and South American businesses. A year later in October 1996, Puccini was appointed President of Mizuno USA to oversee all operations in both the U.S. and South America.
In 2002 he was appointed Chairman of Mizuno Canada, Ltd., expanding his responsibilities to all Mizuno activities in the Western Hemisphere. In 2006, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Mizuno Corporation, Mizuno USA’s publicly traded parent company based in Osaka, Japan.
Before Mizuno, Puccini served as president and CEO of Head Sports in Boulder, CO, where he began as vice president and general manager of the summer sports division. He also worked for Adidas USA as vice president, marketing communications; and for Spalding Sports Worldwide as vice president, field sales, and as business unit manager for golf products. He began his career with The Gillette Company in 1976 where he progressed from sales into brand management over a seven-year span.
He attended Fordham University in Bronx, NY, on a baseball scholarship and completed his MBA from Pace University in New York. In 2007, Puccini was elected to the Board of Directors of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), taking the reigns as Chairman in 2012 to help the organization restructure for growth.
His passions for sport and the Mizuno brand are lauded both on the golf course and in the boardroom.
What first drove you to get active in sports? My father was a multi-sport athlete at the same high school my brother and I also attended, and became a golf (teaching) professional and life member of the PGA. My parents encouraged both of us, at an early age, to get engaged in sports because of the core values it would teach us, keep us “out of trouble,” as well the hope that we would both earn college scholarships since we would need financial aid. Both of us did exactly that.
What was your proudest athletic moment? While there are a number of proud moments, such as pitching a no-hitter to win our high school league championship, earning the New York Daily News All Star award, leading the league in strike-outs, and winning League MVP, my proudest moment had to be receiving the news that I had earned the scholarship to Fordham University. Fordham’s coach was Gil MacDougald, Yankee star of the 1950s.
What set the stage for your career? When I blew my arm out and knew I couldn’t pursue my dream of major league baseball any longer (I wanted to be a pitcher for the Yankees), I redirected that passion to compete into becoming a better student and competing in business.
How did you get started in the sporting goods business? I was recruited by a very smart Harvard MBA, ex-General Foods marketeer and GM at Spalding, Chuck Yash. He gave me an opportunity to work as the product manager for the Golf Club business. Back then (1983), Spalding was still a major force in the golf business and I felt I could learn a lot from Chuck and the team while living a dream of combining my vocation with my avocation.
Was there one person who served as your mentor for your career? In addition to my father, my high school baseball coach Mr. Dom Cecere was one of the most influential people in my life. He challenged, pushed and encouraged me to become the athlete and student I became. He instilled so many core values that we thought were about baseball and sports, but later, realized were about life. Discipline, hard work, dedication, team work, character and being a class act both on and off the field are values that drive me today and I will be forever grateful to a humble, dedicated and selfless man who will always be respectfully called “Coach.”
What do you love about working at Mizuno USA? Most significantly, my personal values and convictions and those of Mizuno Corporation are tightly aligned: integrity, honor, discipline, hard work and attention to detail. A focus on quality and doing things right and “doing the right thing” are also critical values we share. The company was founded by Mr. Rihachi Mizuno in 1906 and his entrepreneurial and challenging spirit and view toward being unafraid to be the underdog, in many ways reflects my own life story from baseball, to education, to my business career.
What are you trying to change? While we will never sacrifice our values, it’s important to adapt our “what, how, why, where and when” we execute to remain relevant, compelling and aligned with our evolving consumer and customer behavior. I have initiated a major project to ensure we are prepared to carry the brand to the next level of success and are positioned for long-term sustainability.
What’s one thing that industry folks may be surprised to know about you? My wife of 35 years and I still enjoy our Friday night pizza date (when I’m not traveling) and still love watching the Yankee games on TV. And how blessed I am to be a grandfather and have my kids and their kids living five miles from my wife and me.
What is your advice to someone looking to work or grow their career in the sporting goods industry? Learn the fundamentals of professionalism, business management and leadership, including best practice methods and ideologies. Then, realize that these can be applied to and are transferable to most any business. Importantly, work in a culture and environment where you can make a difference, and pursue what you love -- you’ll never work a day again!
Stacy Lewis Takes Over World #1 Ranking With LPGA Founders Cup Victory
by Iver Maple on March 18, 2013
Mizuno Brand Ambassador and 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis continued her impressive streak of tournaments in 2013, fighting back from a three-stroke deficit down the stretch to capture a three-stroke victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The 8-under 64 in the final-round was highlighted by nine birdies prevailing her to her second consecutive LPGA Tour win.
“It's awesome,” said Lewis of the win. “I played great today. Myself and Ai we just went back and forth all day; she was making putts, I was making putts.”
The win didn’t come easy for Lewis as she found herself going into the final round trailing Ai Miyazato by four strokes after an unfortunate two-stroke penalty on Saturday. Stacy is a fighter though and she wasn’t going to let anything stop her in her mission to take over the #1 spot in the world.
Lewis becomes only the seventh player to hold the coveted top spot in the Rolex Rankings alongside Yani Tseng, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr. Despite always having the goal of holding the No. 1 ranking, Lewis admitted to being surprised of her rapid climb to the top.
“It's crazy,” said Lewis with a smile that could light-up a room. “That was my goal kind of since the middle of last year and I really didn't think it would be possible this quick. We've only played four tournaments this year and it's just crazy.”
The number one ranking is even more surreal for Lewis who nearly 10 years ago was undergoing surgery to correct scoliosis. The always optimistic Lewis understands now more than ever that everything happens for a reason.
“Yeah, it's almost 10 years ago I was having surgery, I was going into surgery to put a rod and five screws in my back,” said Lewis. “That was just 10 years ago. That's not normal, that's not supposed to happen. I mean, I'm not ‑‑ I'm really not supposed to be here.
“People with metal in their back, how do you play golf,” she added. “I don't know, I don't know how, I don't know why I'm here. I know that there's a reason and I know that everything happens for a reason. Every setback you have along the way, everything good that happens, it all happens for a reason. I don't know, I couldn't have dreamed the kid growing up wearing a back brace 18 hours a day that is the No. 1 player in the world. I don't know, I don't know what to say.”
Mizuno Golf Treats Average Joes Like Pros
by Iver Maple on March 11, 2013
Mizuno is helping golfers nationwide improve their game while offering the opportunity to be treated like a pro as an exclusive member of “Team JPX.” Play Famously will champion the cause and determination of the “everyman” golfer using Mizuno’s JPX-825 line of game-improvement irons. Pittsburgh, Penn. native Lee Baughman was selected as the first of a 12-member team of Mizuno “game-improvement professionals.”
Baughman was selected as the face of Team JPX through a separate “casting call” process lead by Golf Digest through its popular GolfWRX online forum. As the official spokesman for Team JPX, Baughman participated in his first “tour” experience in South Florida with fellow Mizuno professional staff members Luke Donald, Charles Howell III, and Stacy Lewis.
“It’s pretty awesome that Mizuno would give a national spotlight to a bunch of everyday amateurs and let us experience what it’s like to be treated like a pro,” said Baughman. “I never thought in a million years I’d be hitting range balls with one of the best players in the world Luke Donald, but Mizuno made that possible with a campaign for the ‘everyman,’ like me.”
The remaining 11 members of Team JPX will be selected through an online contest at www.playfamously.com where golfers are encouraged to try the new JPX-825 irons at a participating retailer, and provide their feedback on the high performance game-improvement irons through a brief essay, photos and/or videos demonstrating their passion for the game and why they deserve to be on Team JPX. Winners receive a complete JPX-825 golf package including custom fit JPX-825 irons, JPX-825 woods, JPX wedges, a Mizuno staff bag personalized with their name, a season’s worth of Mizuno apparel and accessories and customized instruction from Team JPX’s “Swing Coach” and PGA Master Teacher, Dr. Gary Wiren. The Team JPX season will culminate with the ultimate tour experience at the JPX Invitational, the first “tour level” event for amateurs at the home of Mizuno’s R&D Center, the Country Club of the South in Atlanta.
“The passion of amateur golfers is at the heart of our sport. It’s what drives our sport and it’s really special that Mizuno is going to these lengths to celebrate them with this campaign,” said Donald. “Let’s be honest, I don’t think any of us pros are at risk of losing our jobs. For guys like Lee, consistently breaking 90 can be life-changing, and the right equipment makes all the difference.”
At the heart of Play Famously is the newest addition to the JPX line of game-improvement irons, the JPX-825. The JPX-825s utilize an ultra-thin, Hot Metal face which delivers an enhanced ‘trampoline effect’ for the extra distance that all players desire. But because distance is nothing without forgiveness, the JPX-825s also feature an enormous sweet area, providing players with more consistent results that will leave even their mis-hits closer to the pin.
“A lot of people still view Mizuno as a brand for only elite players, but that’s a misconception,” said Dick Lyons, Vice President and General Manager, Golf Division for Mizuno USA. “We know that we have the longest and most forgiving irons on the market in the JPX-825s, but we’re not asking golfers to take our word for it. We challenge any mid to high handicap players to put the JPX-825s up against anything they are playing now, and they will see for themselves.”
Applications for a coveted spot on Team JPX will be accepted during select periods from March to May 2013. To see how the JPX-825 irons stack up against the competition and learn more about the campaign, visit www.playfamously.com.
Chipper Jones Honored at State Capitol
by Corporate on March 6, 2013
Georgia lawmakers may be busy but there's always time to recognize retired Atlanta Braves player and Mizuno Ambassador, Chipper Jones. Yesterday, Jones was honored at the Capitol for his commitment to Georgia, the city of Atlanta and the sport of baseball. Mizuno could not be more proud of Jones and his contributions throughout his 20 year career. He retired as one of the most accomplished switch hitters in the MLB and is a favorite for selection into the Hall of Fame. As noted in the AJC, there is a chance we could see him on the diamond once again!
More photos from the event on ajc.com.
(Photo credit: AJC)
Stacy Lewis Wins HSBC Women's Champions
by Iver Maple on March 4, 2013
Mizuno brand ambassador and 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis held on tight for her first victory of the 2013 season, making par on the 18th hole to capture a one-shot victory over Rolex Rankings No. 2 Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87) at the HSBC Women's Champions. Lewis watched a three-shot lead shrink over her final few ones to just one as she headed to the 18th hole at Sentosa Golf Club's The Serapong Course after bogeys on 15 and 17. But the player known for her grit and determination while battling scoliosis during her youth showed no signs of letting her nerves get the best of her on the final hole.
After watching both of her playing partners hit their drives on 18 with the aid of a down wind, Lewis belted a driver down the middle of the fairway on 18. She then hit a hybrid to the back of the green in two, giving herself a lengthy putt for eagle. She lagged her putt down to about 10 feet for birdie while Choi had a 12-foot birdie putt that could have potentially forced a playoff if Lewis had missed. Choi just slid her birdie putt by before Lewis missed hers and was left with a foot-and-a-half putt for par to win.
A birdie by Lewis on the ninth then moved her to 17-under-par and stretched it to a three-shot lead before some late troubles made the gap much closer. It was quite a battle down the stretch between three of the top players in the world in their hunt to be crowned the "Champion of Champions" in Singapore and Lewis certainly looked a little worn out after capturing her sixth career victory on the LPGA Tour.
"The last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Lewis said. "That golf course is hard and it can jump up and get you at any second, and to have to play with two great players on your tail all day, and they played unbelievable, and none of us really we just couldn't get any putts to fall on the back nine. I don't know what it was. Edges just seemed a little bit tighter. Paula had a couple on the edge.
"I don't know, I just played hard and put my head down and tried to make as many putts as I could, and fortunately I came away with the win."
What's in Stacy's Bag:
MP-650 3 Wood (15.0 deg.)
JPX 825 Hybrid (19.0 deg.)
JPX 825 Pro (4-pw)
T-11 Wedges (52, 56, & 60) White Satin
Shin wins Australian Women's Open after switch to JPX-825 Pro irons
by Iver Maple on February 18, 2013
Mizuno’s Jiyai Shin completed her 11th win on the LPGA Tour after switching to Mizuno's new JPX-825 Pro irons. The ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open was held at Royal Canberra .
Shin co-lead into the final round but pulled away to win by 2 shots – confirming a return to form that was suggested by winning the 2012 Women’s British Open. Shin played Mizuno's MP Driver, JPX-825 Forged irons and Grain Flow Forged MP-T4 wedges.
Shin was delighted with the win and her Mizuno equipment which has added some recent length to her always accurate game, “With my new JPX-825 Pro irons, I'm now hitting a full club longer. I didn't expect to win so fast after changing irons, but the distance control was good and I adapted very easily .”
The win raises Shin to 6th position on the Rolex rankings – just slightly behind fellow Mizuno staffer Stacy Lewis, who holds the 3rd position.
Kajikawa Classic Tournament 2013
by Corporate on February 11, 2013
Mizuno Fast Pitch was proud to have 4 teams compete in this year's Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, AZ. Bradley University, San Jose State, Cal State Northridge and University of Arizona all stopped by the Mizuno tech van. Mizuno provided bat re-gripping, glove servicing to re-lace and adjust laces on gloves. We will also had our glove steamer on site to steam gloves that needed it. All four teams that attended have new gloves for the season.
Bradley Braves Softball Team stops by the Mizuno Tech Van
Bradley Braves Softball Team Getting Ready to Kick-Off their Season
San Jose State doesn't Travel Light!
San Jose State Spartans Softball Team Get Their Gloves Game Ready
Wounded Warrior Veteran Plays with the Atlanta Braves
by Corporate on February 5, 2013
Mizuno honored Iraq war veteran Wounded Warrior Project's Mike Stafford with the trip of a lifetime to the Atlanta Braves Fantasy Camp! Mike suited up with the Braves and was treated as a teammate for the week!
Mike Stafford suited up in a official Atlanta Braves uniform.
Mike Stafford catching a ground ball.
Mike Stafford warming up for his first MLB at bat!
Atlanta Braves training stadium.
Just another one of the team.
Fitting right in in the locker room.
Chris Wood Scores Maiden European Tour Win With MP-64/MP-69 Combo Iron Set
by Iver Maple on January 28, 2013
Mizuno's Chris Wood took his first European Tour win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - making an eagle 3 at the 72nd hole to take the title by a single shot.
Holding a three shot lead going into the last round, Wood showed early nerves making a double bogey at the 3rd. Wood fought back with 4 birdies but was still a shot behind with 2 to play. A birdie was needed on the par 5 18th to reach a playoff with Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee.
Hitting the ball long and straight is a Chris Wood strength and a 320 yard bomb down the middle with his MP-650 driver, set up a MP-69 six iron from 202 yards - which was lasered into the heart of the green. The putt dropped giving Wood his first European Tour win.
Wood was relieved to secure his first European Tour Win, "It feels good. Blimey, I've seen a few mates picking up trophies and I've been waiting patiently for my time. I felt like I was due to win for a couple of years.” As for the eagle, Wood added: "Nice way to finish!"
The title was an early reward for Mizuno who recently announced a new contract with Wood - including apparel appaa for the first time. Wood's bag included his MP-650 driver, MP-64 3 and 4 iron, MP-69 5-PW and MP-T4 wedges.
Andy Kikidas, European Tour Manager for Mizuno was delighted, "After coming so close at The Open Championship and leading some big events, it was only a matter of time before Chris recorded his first win. Woody is still so young, that with this monkey off his back he can really kick on. Chris is one of the new wave of players who will carry European golf for years to come."
Wood moves to fourth in The Race to Dubai and top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking, opening up some new playing opportunities for 2013.
MIZUNO EXTENDS RELATIONSHIP WITH 2012 LPGA ROLEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR STACY LEWIS
by Iver Maple on January 25, 2013
Notching Four Wins in 2012, No. 3 Player in the World Continues Partnership with Mizuno
Mizuno is thrilled to announce a multi-year extension with reigning LPGA Rolex Player of the Year and world No. 3 Stacy Lewis. After leading the tour with four wins in 2012, the agreement means that Lewis will continue playing Mizuno equipment, extending the long-standing relationship that began during Lewis’ freshman year at Arkansas.
“Stacy has been an incredible ambassador for our brand, and we are thrilled to see the relationship continue,” said Dick Lyons, Vice President and General Manager, Golf Division for Mizuno USA, Inc. “Stacy’s amazing story of overcoming Scoliosis as a teenager to winning Player of the Year in 2012 is a testament to her ‘Never Settle’ attitude and the embodiment of what Mizuno looks for in a brand ambassador. We couldn’t be more proud of her past achievements and are excited about what the future holds for her.”
Consistently displaying poise, dependability anda strong short game with her JPX irons, woods, and MP wedges, Lewis notched 16 top-10 finishes, more than any player on the 2012 LPGA tour. Following wins at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in May and the ShopRite in June, she added fall victories at the Navistar LPGA Classic and the Mizuno Classic in Japan, where she all-but-locked-up a trip to the podium at the season-ending Rolex Awards Reception. Lewis ascended to second in the Rolex Rankings, making her the highest ranked American golfer on the LPGA tour. For the year, Stacy ranked No. 1 on Tour in birdies, eagles and rounds in the 60’s, and second in Greens in Regulation.
“Since my freshman year at Arkansas, Mizuno has been my equipment manufacturer of choice,” said Lewis. “As my career continues into 2013, I’m looking forward to the extension of our collaborative partnership. Mizuno has helped me reach many of my goals thus far, and I’m looking forward to building on last year's momentum for another successful season.”
Lewis re-joins Mizuno’s elite stable of world-wide players including World No. 2 Luke Donald, Jonathan Byrd, Charles Howell III, Marcel Siem, Chris Wood, Mayu Hattoriand Jiyai Shin.
MIZUNO EXTENDS RELATIONSHIP WITH WORLD #3 LUKE DONALD
by Iver Maple on January 23, 2013
New Multi-Year Contract Extends Long-Time Affiliation with Donald
Mizuno is pleased to announce an extension to one of the longest-standing equipment relationships in golf with world #3 Luke Donald signing to continue to be a brand ambassador for years to come. The agreement ensures that Donald, the world’s premier iron player, will continue to play the Mizuno equipment that has led him to 13 professional victories, including his incredible 2011 campaign which propelled him to the top rank on both PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same year, a feat that no other golfer had ever claimed.
Known for his amazing iron and wedge play, Donald regularly provides Mizuno engineers with significant and valuable feedback throughout the development of new products. Donald has recently switched to Mizuno’s Grain Flow Forged MP-64 irons and MP-T4 wedges – models designed hand in hand with the player. The equipment, forged at Mizuno’s exclusive plant in Hiroshima Japan is world renowned for the precision and quality favored by shot-makers like Donald.
Donald established his playing credentials with Mizuno during a standout career at Northwestern University. Donald signed on as a Mizuno Brand Ambassador in 2003 and has since recorded 13 professional tournament wins with Mizuno equipment.
In 2011 and 2012 Donald experienced the most prolific period of his career, holding the world #1 position for a total of 56 weeks. With four international victories in 2011 and top ranks on both PGA Tour and European Tour money lists, Donald was named the PGA Player of the Year and PGA Tour Player of the Year, becoming the first Englishman to win either award. He was also named the European Tour Golfer of the Year.
“I feel as if I am playing as well as ever at this stage in my career. Over the next few years I want to be in a position to win major championships and to continue to improve,” Donald said. “We’ve refined my Mizuno equipment in the last couple of seasons and I’m really happy with what I have in the bag right now, so it gives me great pleasure to extend this relationship. Mizuno is the most precise, incredible club-maker out there, and I’m honored to represent this quality brand.”
Akito Mizuno, Mizuno President and grandson of company founder Rihachi Mizuno, is equally delighted. “Luke Donald and Mizuno share a special long-term relationship that we are delighted to continue. Luke has become a very special friend to Mizuno over the years. He perfectly represents our company, and we look forward to what Luke will accomplish in the next few years. “
Charles Howell III Finishes Second in the Humana Challenge
by Iver Maple on January 21, 2013
The MP-64s seem to be working for Charles Howell III. Charles finished second in a play off at yesterday's Humana Challenge after opening his season with third in Hawaii's Sony Open.
The winner of the Humana Challenge was playing one of the 64's predecessors - the MP-60's.
Mizuno Renews Multi-year Contract with USA Volleyball through 2016 Olympic Games in Rio
by Brynn Murphy on December 17, 2012
Mizuno Extends Relationship to United States Beach Volleyball Team, Expanding Their Role in Advancing Society Through Sports
We are pleased to announce an extension of our sponsorship agreement with USA Volleyball, remaining the “Official Equipment and Apparel Supplier for the USA Volleyball.” The long-standing partnership with USAV continues to solidify Mizuno’s core message of contributing to society by inspiring the youth to achieve their life-long goals through the active participation and promotion of sports.
Mizuno’s support of USA Volleyball’s national teams extends to all levels. The agreement continues the successful relationship with the USA Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams, the USA Men’s and Women’s Junior National Volleyball Teams, USA Boys’ and Girls’ National Volleyball Teams and USA Men’s and Women’s World University Teams. In addition, the agreement expands to include all areas of the USA Beach Volleyball for the first time with the contract remaining in place through 2016, including the highly anticipated Rio Olympics.
“USA Volleyball is proud to announce that it has extended its official athletic footwear and apparel sponsor agreement with Mizuno through December 31, 2016,” USA Volleyball Secretary General Kerry Klostermann said. “The agreement has been expanded to include the USA Beach Volleyball discipline and programs. Every single Olympic medal won by USA Volleyball’s indoor national teams has been won in Mizuno performance product and we look forward to continuing our history of successful and mutually beneficial partnerships.”
“Our sponsorship of USA Volleyball has been an important relationship that we’ve fostered for over a decade and we are thrilled to once again partner with USAV through 2016,” said Mizuno USA President Bob Puccini. “The addition of USA beach volleyball brings a new level of excitement to our affiliation with the sport, which has remained a major part of Mizuno’s heritage and history, and we consider it a crucial component of our company growth.”
As an “Official Sponsor of USA Volleyball” for the United States Men and Women’s National team since 2001, Mizuno will participate in numerous partnership opportunities with USAV and their events. The top-ranked United States Women’s Olympic Volleyball Team claimed a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics after a defeat by world number two Brazil in the gold medal match.
Mizuno’s support of national teams extends beyond Olympic competition and into the junior ranks providing youth across the world with hi-tech products. The company remains dedicated to developing technologies such as DryLite™ in apparel, and award winning Mizuno Wave® technology in footwear, which enhances performance and helps players of all ages perform at their very best. Mizuno USA's new and improved sublimation program has just had its initial relaunch and will be offered to the Indoor National Teams and Beach National Teams.
Mizuno's MP-650 Ranked #1 In MyGolfSpy.com's Fairway Wood Test
by Iver Maple on December 13, 2012
Cult equipment site MyGolfSpy has rated the Mizuno MP-650 'best overall' in their 2012 Fairway Wood Test.
With real golfers testing all the best known fairway woods for both accuracy and distance in a set of very robust conditions....the eventual winner surprised MyGolfSpy, but not us.
Comments from the review:
"I know. I’m as shocked as you are…as shocked as anyone. Of course given that the MP-650 was one of only two clubs to finish in the top 3 for both distance and accuracy, I suppose by this point we probably shouldn’t be.
Detractors will point out that the Mizuno (like the untested Adams XTD) has a titanium face, and consequently, it should be longer. Accuracy is a just a bonus. That’s probably true, but most golfers don’t give any consideration to what the face is made of. They just want it to perform, and for our testers, the Mizuno did…repeatedly.
I watched it happen. I crunched the numbers. I wrote all of this up, and I’m still amazed.
Mizuno’s MP-650…winner, winner, chicken dinner."
- My Golf Spy
See all the results here.
Mizuno Re-signs Long-Time Brand Ambassador Jennie Finch
by Corporate on December 12, 2012
We are please to announce the re-signing of two-time Olympic Medalist and 2010 Amateur Softball Association Female athlete of the year, Jennie Finch, to a multi-year contract extension. Finch partnered with Mizuno in 2002 becoming a Brand Ambassador while playing for the United States Women’s National Team. The re-signing of Finch continues to reinforce Mizuno’s mantra of contributing to society through the advancement of sporting goods and participation and promotion of sports, specifically with women.
“Throughout her playing career and into a successful retirement, Jennie has been a model citizen and incredible ambassador for the game of softball. We are proud to re-sign such a well-respected role model in the women’s sports community,” said Bob Puccini, Mizuno USA President. “Not many athletes stay with a company for 10 years and we are grateful for the passion, determination and character Jennie has bestowed upon our brand, women’s softball and sport in general.”
Finch has made it a mission and one of her many true passions to create an environment throughout society that lends itself to encouraging female participation in sport. So much so she recently wrote an autobiography, “Throw Like a Girl,” that explores the path she took growing up, while providing sound advice on how to translate the lessons she learned from sports into everyday life. In addition to her book, Finch is involved with several charities, including the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Project HOTSHOTS and the Women’s Sports Foundation while running her own softball academy and hosting camps and clinics around the country to teach young women the sport.
“My 10-year anniversary with Mizuno is incredibly special; they’ve always been an essential partner throughout my career,” said Finch. “I’m honored to be a role model for young females around the world and Mizuno has allowed me a hands-on approach to facilitating and encouraging female participation in sports, like softball, that lead to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.”
Finch, one of the premier players in International women’s softball, took home a Gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the Silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Prior to her professional career, Finch was a three-time, first team All-American and two-time Honda Player of the Year while playing at the University of Arizona. In fact, she still holds the NCAA record at 60 for most consecutive wins, making her one of the most dominant pitchers in fastpitch softball history.
Mizuno has a complete line of high performance fastpitch ball gloves, footwear, fastpitch bats, batting gloves and performance apparel. Finch will continue to contribute her feedback in the research and development process. The current line-up of Mizuno fastpitch products includes several Finch series items including the Finch Franchise Series of fastpitch ball gloves, Jennie Finch Signature Series fastpitch bat, the Finch Premier G3 and Youth Finch Premier G3 batting gloves, the 9-Spike Finch 5 Mid-and Low-Cleats and the Finch Franchise 4 along with the Youth Finch Franchise 4.
Mizuno Ambassadors Awarded for the Greatness in the 2012 Gibby Awards
by Corporate on December 7, 2012
Mizuno Ambassador Matt Cain received a 2012 Gibby Award for Must C: Pitching Performance of the Year for his perfect game against the Astros in June.
Longtime Mizuno Ambassador and legend Chipper Jones was honored in his last seasoning of baseball with the Must C: Walk-off of the Year. Jones' final big league homer helped spur Atlanta's strong September run to the postseason.
Congratulations. Matt we wish you success in the 2013 season. Chipper, here’s to retirement!
For the full list of 2012 Gibby Award winners vist: MLB.com
Stacy Lewis Wins LPGA Player of the Year
by Iver Maple on November 28, 2012
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Stacy Lewis triumphantly accepted the Rolex Player of the Year award, becoming the first U.S.-born player to do so in nearly two decades. LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Beth Daniel, the last American winner in 1994, was on-hand at the awards ceremony to assist in presenting her the award.
"I just think back to 10 years ago when I remember sitting in a doctor's office and him telling me that I was going to have to have back surgery," Lewis said. "That was the time that, I mean, I thought I would never play golf again. Now 10 years later I'm here winning Player of the Year, that's crazy. That's not normal, you know? People that normally win Player of the Year are pretty talented and have kind of played well all along and I've just kind of slowly worked my way up and I think it's most satisfying, everything I've overcome."
Lewis led the Tour with four victories and 16 top-10 finishes this season. In June, following victories at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Lewis moved to No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings and became the top-ranked American in the world. The following week, she moved to No. 2 in the world - the position she currently holds - following a runner-up finish at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
In September, Lewis completed the "Alabama Slam," winning the Navistar LPGA Classic to strengthen her lead in the Player of the Year race, though it was anything but a runaway. Instead it became a two-player race as the season turned to fall thanks to the consistent play of Inbee Park, who recorded 10 consecutive top-10 finishes including two victories. Lewis' win at the Mizuno Classic in Japan gave her a 58 point lead in the Player of the Year race with two events remaining and her tie for fourth at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational clinched the trophy.
"It's unbelievable, especially the way I played the last few months with all the pressure," Lewis said. "I've been thinking about it every day and all the time, and it's just crazy to me just how far I've come over the last few years. To be the best player on this Tour, I don't even know what to say."
From the age of 11, Lewis wore a back brace 18 hours per day for 7-1/2 years to correct curvature in her spine from scoliosis, removing the brace only to play golf. She had back surgery to insert a titanium rod and five screws during her senior year of high school and redshirted for one season before joining the University of Arkansas women's golf team. As a member of the University of Arkansas women's golf team, Lewis won 12 collegiate events and was a four-time All-American. She was the 2005 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Freshman of the Year, the 2007 NCAA Division I National Champion and the 2008 SEC Championship Individual Medalist and Player of the Year.
Lewis was the medalist at the 2008 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament and joined the Tour as a rookie in 2009. In 2011, she became a Rolex First-Time Winner and major champion at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she defeated defending champion Yani Tseng by three shots and crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings. Nineteen months later, she crossed the $4 million mark in earnings with her victory at the Mizuno Classic.
"Coming into the year, I just wanted to hopefully win and be the top American in the Rolex Rankings and I think in May I accomplished both of those goals," Lewis said. "The middle of the year is when Player of the Year really kind of came on my mind and I thought that it was something that was possible and it was attainable."
It certainly was. Congratulations Stacy!
Mizuno's own Larry Brushett Inducted into the USSSA National Hall of Fame
by Corporate on November 26, 2012
Mizuno's own Larry Brushett was inducted into the USSSA National Hall of Fame earlier this month. We congratulate Larry on his success and admire his dedication to both Mizuno and USSSA.
USSSA Today's Kayla Shimoda writes:
As Softball Promotions Manager for Mizuno, Larry partners closely with USSSA within the softball and fast-pitch markets. He has been working with the organization for a number of years and was elected to initiate a fast-pitch foot¬print for USSSA within the market. Larry also participated in the development of Comfort Lite Protective Equipment, the first protective catcher’s gear that was specifically designed and created for the female athlete. He also worked on the development of female specific batters helmets and has sponsored and worked with the Women’s Professional Softball League since it’s creation. Larry assisted with the development of the USA Olympic Team batter helmets in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and worked with the development of the Hollywood Impact Base used by Parks and Recreation departments throughout the country. Larry pitched fast-pitch competitively until the age of 50 and has won the USSSA Achievement Award.
When asked how it feels to be a USSSA Hall of Fame inductee, Larry adds, “It is an incredible honor and truly humbling to be considered, and then nominated and chosen. When you look at the Hall of Fame, you look at players and statis¬tics so it’s humbling to be an inductee since I’ve dedicated my career to help players and organizations achieve their goals.” Larry also tells us that it makes him happy to be a part of USSSA and help give advice and direct efforts towards the sport. “For me, it’s really been the mindset of getting out of life, what you can help others achieve too.”
Donald Scores Another Win At The Dunlop Phoenix
by Iver Maple on November 19, 2012
Luke Donald has climbed back to World No.2 after claiming another victory with his new Mizuno MP-64 irons. In a dominant performance, Luke finished at 16 under par to win the Dunlop Phoenix by a five stroke margin.
Since placing the MP-64s into his bag at The Barclays at the end of August, Luke has claimed four top-ten finishes in seven events and not finished worse than tied 28th. And they were key to this victory at Phoenix Country Club as Donald topped the greens in regulation chart at 80.56%.
"Honored to add my name to the great champions that have won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament", tweeted Donald. "I’ve loved my week here in Japan. It’s a great event on a great course."
During his Japanese adventure, Luke also found time to meet some of our Mizuno Japan craftsmen behind his new MP-64s at the revered Yoro factory – and also engaged in a thorough testing session with the R&D team.
This triumph from Luke comes on the heels of JPX user and LPGA Tour Player of the Year Stacy Lewis’ Mizuno Classic victory a week previous, also on Japanese soil.
Silver Slugger Awards
by Corporate on November 9, 2012
Congratulations to Mizuno Ambassadors Ian Desmond and Billy Butler on their Silver Slugger Awards! Desmond is a first time winner and Butler earned designated hitter honors for hitting .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs.
Read the article MLB.com
Stacy's Thrilling Victory at the Mizuno Classic
by Iver Maple on November 6, 2012
Check out highlights from Stacy's thrilling victory at the Mizuno Classic followed by a sit down interview with Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte.
Click on video to watch:
Chipper Jones Named Marvin Miller Man-of-the-Year
by Corporate on November 6, 2012
Long time Mizuno Ambassador Chipper Jones is named 2012 Marvin Miller Man-of-the-Year. The award is given to the baseball player for outstanding on-field performance and off-field contributions to his community.
Since 1992, every player belonging to the Major League Baseball Players Association has been allowed to cast a vote on various categories in an effort to determine each year's winners of the Players Choice Awards. First given in 1997 as the Man of the Year Award, it was renamed in 2000 in honor of Marvin Miller, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Congratulations Chipper – you continue to make us proud even off the diamond!
Watch Chipper's accetance speech on MLB.com