SBD/April 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ping To Sell Limited-Edition Pink Drivers Similar To What Watson Used At Masters

Ping will sell 5,000 limited-edition all-pink G20 drivers for $430 starting June 1
Ping announced yesterday that it will sell 5,000 "limited-edition all-pink G20 drivers" similar to the one golfer Bubba Watson used during The Masters for $430 in pro shops starting on June 1, according to David Dusek of GOLF.com. Five percent of the proceeds "from the sale of the drivers will go to 'Bubba Long in Pink. Driven by Ping,' which is the company's portion of 'Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million.'" Each will come with a "pink headcover and a pink Ping TFC 169D shaft" with the "Bubba Long" slogan. Since Watson began playing with a pink driver at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, Ping has donated $10,000, plus $300 for every 300-plus-yard drive Watson "has struck using the club, to the 'Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million' initiative" (GOLF.com, 4/10). GOLFWEEK's James Achenbach wrote even before Watson’s victory at the Masters last weekend, there was "plenty of demand for the pink G20." Ping Chair & CEO John Solheim said, "Lots of people wanted it. So we decided to make it available and raise some money for Bubba’s charity at the same time" (GOLFWEEK.com, 4/10). Meanwhile, CNBC.com's Darren Rovell wrote, "Don't be surprised if companies that never advertised in golf take a chance on Bubba. He is truly the 'everyman'" (CNBC.com, 4/10).

STAYING TRUE TO HIMSELF: Watson appeared on CNBC's "Power Lunch" yesterday and Rovell noted Watson can "play the role of Happy Gilmore a little bit," as he never took a golf lesson and is "kind of just a free-spirit kind of guy." Rovell: "How much have you embraced that kind of role?” Watson said, "I embrace it a lot. That's who I am, I haven't changed anything. I haven't changed who I am, who my character is or what I do on and off the golf course. I’m Bubba. For me, it's just natural, it's just who I am. I think that people are going to enjoy it more. I think people are going to see the everyday man learning how to play golf himself coming from the family I came from, the small town that I came from. They’re going to realize that everybody has a chance to do this." Meanwhile, CNBC's Tyler Mathisen asked, “Are there rules as to where you can wear the green jacket or who can wear the green jacket?” Watson: “There's always rules in everything, but rules sometimes can be broken. Out of respect for Augusta, out of respect for The Masters, out of respect for all the members there, all the workers, they want you to be presentable. So my blue jeans and T-shirts wouldn't work today" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 4/10). Watson also appeared on CBS' "The Late Show" last night, and when host David Letterman asked him about his “personal approach to golf,” Watson described it as “awesome.” Letterman: “I mean, after awesome.” Watson: “We coined the phrase ‘Bubba Golf’ because it's just fun. I love the game of golf, I love goofing around, I love just shaping shots. The creativity of golf, every day is a different day because of the weather, the conditions; you never know what's going to happen. So for me, I'm having a blast out there. I'm trying to hit shots, I'm not trying to play it safe, just trying to be aggressive and bury the holes and try to win golf tournaments” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/10).
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