SBD/December 8, 2010/Marketing And Sponsorships

Chips & Putts: McDowell, Callaway Set To End Endorsement Deal

McDowell Leaving Callaway At End Of Year, Could Replace Furyk At Srixon

GOLFWEEK's Adam Schupak reported U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and his "current equipment endorser, Callaway Golf, will part ways when his contract expires Dec. 31." Equipment company officials speculated that Srixon and sister brand Cleveland Golf "could emerge as a top suitor" for McDowell, as Srixon is "seeking a marquee tour ambassador, especially because its relationship with endorser Jim Furyk is nearing an end." A Cleveland Golf rep "declined to confirm those reports or rumors of the company's interest in McDowell" (GOLFWEEK.com, 12/7).

CHANGING HANDS? Acushnet parent company Fortune Brands' BOD has approved in principle a separation of Fortune's three businesses in order to maximize long-term value for shareholders. As a result, Acushnet will either be sold or spun-off tax free. Acushnet includes golf ball brand Titleist and golf shoe and glove brand FootJoy (Acushnet). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's David Kesmodel cites sources as saying that Acushnet, "which gets about 45 of its revenue from outside the U.S. and has grown rapidly in South Korea, is expected to attract interest from golf and sporting-goods companies in Asia as well as private-equity firms" (WSJ.com, 12/8).

GOING PLATINUM: In California, Larry Bohannan reports Franklin American Mortgage Co. has agreed to a three-year, $1.5M "Platinum-level sponsorship" of the PGA Tour Bob Hope Classic. As part of the sponsorship, the company "will serve as underwriter of the Bob Hope Classic Celebrity Dinner and be designated Official Sponsor of the Bob Hope Classic Celebrity Jam Session and amateur/celebrity caddie bibs." The deal comes following Franklin American's "first-time participation in the Classic" in '10 (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 12/8). In L.A., Jill Painter writes the deal is a "step in the right direction" for the tournament, but the "big deal for a title sponsor has eluded the event" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/8).

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