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Major Minor Thoughts: The Front Nine


"There will be no financial television during golf majors."


#1. (460 Yards Par 4) The TiVo Stock Markdown

Like any great course, nothing too fancy on #1. The swing-thought is "Stick in my comfort zone, play with what I know."

I'm pretty comfortable asserting the following: The shareholder base of TiVO (TIVO) is jumpier than a Chihuahua on speed. The stock is down as much as 10% today on reports that DirecTV (DTV) CEO Chase Carey said DTV is going to market their new, proprietary box, once NNDS finishes making one that works and can be mass-produced.

This should be something less than shocking news to those who heard Carey say roughly the same thing, in DTV's conference call last week.


#2: (440 Yards Par 4) Golf Major Rankings

"Another straight-forward offering. The biggest difference between this and our first hole is that now I've got a little of what the Scottish caddies refer to as "red arse" as I stand in the box. I can't believe they're selling down TiVO on this news AGAIN! Time to assert an indefensible opinion as fact... Get my mojo back with one huge swing"

1. The British Open.

2. The Masters (Took the #2 spot from the US Open when they went commercial-free in the wake of the Martha Burke controversy. Not even the treacly piano-music can ruin the tournie for a man imbued with the Holy Trinity of a couch, commercial free Masters and Tivo. More thoughts on the topic HERE)

3. The PGA (Despite relative lack of prestige, horrible timing and no real history, the PGA is played at a wider variety of courses. Unlike at the U.S. Open, these courses are conditioned to be "tough" but a reasonable facsimile of what a normal player would find. It makes for more compelling viewing for those who enjoy watching golf.)

4. The US Open (Named after the greatest freaking country in the world. Rotated amongst older U.S. courses, tricked up beyond recognition in an effort to "save par". If you like close-ups of guys watching the shot of their dreams strike an asphalt-hard green then skitter into crotch-high rough, this is your tournament.)

#3 (503 Yards Absurdly long Par 4) Over-Activism?

"Back to par with the major ranking birdie! Feeling well-oiled. Tight. Efficient."

So, Carl Icahn is going to go in there and fix up Time Warner (TWX), huh? I guess he's all done "driving shareholder value" at Blockbuster (BBI) then...

#4 (194 Yards Hazard-protected par-3) Child Rearing

"Don't-think-about-the-water... don't-think-about-the-water..."

Thursday is "2nd Amendment Day" in the nursery wing of Minyanville's West Coast Headquarters. Is there anything cuter than a week old boy, sitting cozy in his ear-protection headset and buzzy-chair, watching his big sister target shoot with her 9-mm?

Lemme tell you something, there won't be any offensive Windsor brats barging into this house, seizing my property and such.

#5 (423 Yard Par 4) "CNBC's Herb Greenberg: Surprisingly attractive or reassuringly leathery?"

"Ok... I coulda lived without making a triple on that last one. Overshared by about 2 full clubs on the tee shot. Calm down. Relax... I ain't no Hollaback girl... I ain't no Hollaback girl..."

You know, Herb, the really strange thing is that I've had the pleasure of hanging out with you in person countless times and I still think of you as "old and crumpled".

There's an outside chance that The Generally Extraordinary Mrs. Jeffmacke will now be joining us in Ojai next week. I guess we'll let her vote decide the matter.

#6 (482 Yard Par Four) Shortin' Ain't Easy

"Back to 2 over with a nice Herb-snark birdie. Keep it steady.... smoooooth..."

More on the nightmare that has become the "Long Good/ Short Bad players in an industry" vanilla hedgie strategy. Say you went into last Wednesday looking to play the sales data the next morning. You think "BeBe (BEBE) though on a tear, can beat their number. Gap (GPS) managed to miss during this year's short-lived "denim craze"... they should be getting CRUSHED now."

BeBe came in 25% sss (!) vs. 22% est. Gap missed by a mile. If you held the trade for a full week your short is up 10% and your long is down 10%. You are "unhappy".

# 7 (505 Yards Par 4) Stupid Predictions with 100% Personal Downside Certainty!

"I'm getting a little squirrelly with all these million-yard par fours. Still 2-over after a 'gentleman's par' on the last. Holes such as this were made for the Not-on-my-best-day fairway woods! Just keep your head steady... and... su... HARD"

I still wouldn't short Google (GOOG), which will trade with ebbs and flows of emotion only loosely linked to traditional markets. They are also likely to learn something from the train-wreck of a call after the quarter just reported.

Were I to make a stupid prediction on a stock I have no intention of ever trading just to fill out a column theme construct, I'd predict that Google will end the year north of $320.

#8 (380 Yard Par 4) Minyanville Mailbag!

"Back to 3-over.... Google.... might have been the worst idea for a buzz EVER. Easy 4 here. Go with the crowd-pleasing mail-bag. Sure they're sick of TiVO... not my fault... the Minyans write 'em, baby..."

Hi Jeff

I don't know where you're based, but here on the east coast, long island, WFAN Sportsradio has been running an ad by DirecTV that offers free tivo's now as part of a package.

I wouldn't think they would run this type of ad if they were going to stop marketing TiVO's...strange

I love your content by the way, keep it up

Minyan Frank!

Frankly, Minyan Frank, I'm glad you had a chance to send such flattery before I posted this thing. I'm as soggy as John Daly's trousers as I walk down this over-played fairway.

I believe DirecTV owns the boxes and I know they control all the marketing plans for their TiVO boxes. I've seen the promotions as well and I expect that it will drive a large amount of product.

Two ways to read the move: One, they just want to clear the boxes to have nice, clean shelves for all those NDS boxes that are just about the ship [smirk].

Or, as per Mr. Carey's comments on DTV "not having a competitive DVR product on the market in over a year (because they previously wouldn't promote TiVO while waiting for NDS)", they are just running with what they have, in a fit of pique.

All those now-free TiVO boxes will eventually have to be replaced by DTV, should they wish those customers to be "proprietary". Until they are, TiVO will get paid by DTV, per month, per house, through 2007.

It is indeed "Strange" but that's the kind of result you get, when you inbreed amongst these "family companies".

#9 (212 yard Par 3) Get me outta here with Par

"Par 3... still 3 over after the TiVO par-effort... can still get in the mix with the back nine tomorrow if I make par here. Keep it simple. Keep it non-objectionable. Keep it factual."

41-year old former PGA Champion Davis Love III is wearing a "Trucker Style" ball-cap during today's round.

It would be a less offensive look if he were dressed in Daisy-Duke cut-offs and a skin-tight muscle-style undershirt (known locally as "The Collins"). Davis Love III's hat has already eliminated him from statistical contention in this tournament.

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