SBD/January 13, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rickie Fowler Has Become A Popular Figure On And Off The Golf Course

Besides Woods, Fowler is most-used character in Woods' video game
Golfer Rickie Fowler has become one of the PGA Tour's "most popular players in two years as a pro, a star for the Internet age," according to Sean Martin of GOLFWEEK. Fowler has "started fashion trends and appeared in everything from feature films to viral videos." This year, he will "share the cover" of EA Sports' Tiger Woods video game after "winning an online popularity contest." EA Sports said that besides Woods, who is the game's "namesake and default player, Fowler is the most-used character in the Woods game by a large margin." Martin notes Fowler has yet to win a PGA Tour event, and that is "fodder for his detractors," but the critics have been "drowned out in seas of pastels." Martin notes no other player on the PGA Tour -- "outside of Woods and his Sunday red shirts -- has so quickly popularized a signature wardrobe." In addition, his "open-book policy may be one reason why, in an age when we're increasingly skeptical of our celebrities, Fowler's clean image resonates." Golfer Paul Goydos said Fowler "is a rock star for a number of reasons." Goydos: "He's a cute kid, blah, blah, blah. He wears bright colors. He markets himself well, without question. But he also has some charisma, and, you know, he plays good." Martin notes there is "no question celebrity has been cheapened in the age of the Internet and reality TV," but Fowler's fame "isn't without merit." He starts the '12 season ranked in the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking (GOLFWEEK, 1/13 issue).

SPONSORS WANT MORE TIME: GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak reports a result of the economic recession is that companies "ask for more time from players in exchange for their sponsor dollars and want golfers to engage in creative activities such as social media." The "increased demands and abundance of prize money have actually made some players shun business deals." Sirak: "The bottom line is that the bottom line remains fat for top players. If they want to give up personal time, the endorsement dollars are there. If not, there are plenty of places to earn a buck with your clubs." Meanwhile, as the game of golf "continues to grow globally in the run-up to Olympic golf in 2016, those opportunities will likely increase, as will endorsement opportunities" (GOLF WORLD, 1/16 issue).
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