John Deere loses a leader

By |  August 13, 2012
Gregg Breningmeyer at last year’s John Deere Classic, with GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans in the background.

Gregg and Rhett riding down 18. I don’t think Rhett is waving a peace sign (but he might be), I think he’s confessing to taking a mulligan on 18 tee…

Me and Gregg at John Deere World HQ in Moline, Ill. 
Gregg shakes hands with John Daly after their round. I got about five photos of these two together, and they all turned out awful. And not just because of Daly’s pants.

Sad news from our friends at John Deere. Gregg Breningmeyer, who was the Global Director of Sales and Marketing for John Deere Golf, passed away last week. He was 56.

Let me keep this in perspective: I’d see Gregg literally twice, maybe three times a year. But he was one of my favorite interviews in the industry. For the last several years, Deere has always arranged for me to have a 1-on-1 sit-down with Gregg at the GIS. That didn’t happen this year, as Gregg was forced to miss the Las Vegas show.

One of the things I enjoyed about Gregg was, he told it like it was. He didn’t mince words. He didn’t speak in “Bull Durham” talk — you know, the “take it one game at a time,” and the “just happy to be here” crap.

In fact, I remember having this conversation with him last year… and I may have even blogged a little bit of it (I just checked and I did, here, complete with broken video link.) We were talking about LinkedIn, and social media in general… and Gregg told me that he didn’t understand why people wanted to connect with him when, in fact, he wasn’t a very nice guy.

I got a good laugh and we talked about if he was a nice guy or not. I told him I was sure he was a nice guy, but maybe he had caught some people off guard in his time, people who weren’t so politically correct all the time.

Gregg nodded, and said, “What it comes down to is, I have no time for bullshit.”

I think that was a good way to put it, and a good way to describe Gregg: a nice guy who didn’t waste time on bullshit. 

From all of us at Golfdom, our condolences to the Breningmeyer family as well as the John Deere family, for their loss. I know this reporter will certainly miss taking the time to bull — uh, chat — with Gregg.

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