SBD/June 17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ralph Lauren's Octopus Pants Draw Curious Looks During Final Round Of U.S. Open

Ralph Lauren sold octopus-print shorts similar to Horschel's pants
Golfer Billy Horschel during yesterday's final round of the U.S. Open wore octopus-print pants from Raph Lauren that were "created specially for him," according to Caroline O'Halloran of the MAIN LINE TIMES. The shorts are "akin to the whales and sailboats prepsters have been parading around in for decades." Ralph Lauren during the event sold pairs of "big, bold navy-and-white" octopus-print shorts for $98. U.S. Open Senior Dir of Licensing & Merchandising Mary Lopuszynski said, "The octopus print is one of the bigger buying risks we took this year but we think it's a winner" (MAIN LINE TIMES, 6/14). The AP noted bad pants are "such a staple of the sport that a number of amateur tournaments are organized each year requiring participants to show up in stunningly loud slacks." Ian Poulter has "long been considered the front-runner in today's game, wearing everything from his native flag to something best described as an old TV test pattern." Rickie Fowler has "pushed the boundary in terms of color, but usually wears the same tone from head to toe." Just like "those two, Horschel has no problem making a 'look-at-me' statement" (AP, 6/16). NBC's Peter Jacobsen said after Horschel missed a short birdie putt, "Those octopus pants, they're not working. They could be calamari soon." NBC's Johnny Miller: "They won't be used much more on a Sunday, I don't think" ("U.S. Open," NBC, 6/16).

BIRDS' EYE VIEW
: Reaction to Horschel's pants came in swiftly on Twitter. Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman wrote, "Today we've now seen an Horschel's octopus, Stricker's shankopotamus and Phil's flopodopolous. I am complete." Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins ‏wrote, "Billy Horschel's octopus pants are trying to swim away." Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein: "OK, I will just come out and say it: I like the octopus pants. #seriously." The AP's Doug Ferguson ‏wrote, "Heard from a top source that Stricker also had the octopus print pants ready to go today, but then changed his mind and went with off-white." ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor added, "Wonder if Ben Hogan would've WD'd at Merion in 1950 if his playing partner showed up in octopus pants."

FASHION FORWARD: In Trenton, L.A. Parker noted the U.S. Open players "put on a fashion exhibit worthy of Paris." And former Neiman Marcus Senior VP/Women's Accessories Marty Hackel has "found his niche as a fashion critic for Golf Digest." Hackel named Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald as "major fashion bon vivants with mass appeal." Hackel said, "Tiger’s probably No. 1, but those other guys enjoy a tremendous following. Luke Donald always looks good. He wears Ralph Lauren apparel from their RLX Division." Hackel noted "fabric as a game changer for golf." Hackel: "It’s mostly polyester now, technical fabric that doesn’t wrinkle or show any sweat, easy to pack and travel with. You’re going to see a move toward compression clothing, apparel that becomes almost a part of the player’s equipment" (TRENTONIAN, 6/15).

DRESS CODE: In Philadelphia, Joseph DiStefano noted software maker SAP had a "well-dressed hospitality tent at Merion for the U.S. Open." SAP VP/Global Sponsorships Chris Burton said, "Our founders believed very strongly in golf as a sport that brings people together." DiStefano noted SAP is "developing a golf-statistics smartphone app, similar to its new NBA and NFL apps, and it is putting together golf-improvement apps featuring" Ernie Els as the instructor (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/16).
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