SBD/July 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Golfer Apparel Companies Up The Ante For On-Course Fashion

Horschel originally thought octopus pants was a style, not a description
In a “crowded and competitive marketplace, on-course fashion decisions are more carefully orchestrated than ever before” for pro golfers as companies that “supply the clothes tell the pros not just what to wear but when to wear it,” according to Chelsea Janes of the WASHINGTON POST. In an “effort to increase visibility and spark sales, most companies ‘script’ their sponsored players’ outfits for each day of a major championship.” PGAer Billy Horschel had been “scheduled to don his cephalopod slacks” during the third round of the U.S. Open two weeks ago, but once he played his way into contention, Polo execs "switched them to Sunday, when TV viewership would be highest.” Nike Golf Men’s Product Dir Eric Schendler said that the company “emphasizes scripting to take advantage of ‘major moments’ and ‘define what an athlete’s look will be and make a statement as a brand.’” adidas/TaylorMade “employed what Senior Director of Global Marketing Davide Mattucci called ‘team scripting’ at this year’s Masters: It dressed its sponsored players in the same outfits.” Mattucci said the company’s website was “flooded” with orders for those products. But he added that the company “hasn’t decided whether or not to try it again” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/29).

FINDING HIS STYLE: In N.Y., Scott Cacciola wrote Horschel “made his biggest sartorial splash by wearing octopus-print pants” at the U.S. Open two weeks ago. Horschel now has “embraced a sense of style.” On the course, he “favors slim-fitting slacks designed by Ralph Lauren, European-cut polos and wingtip shoes.” Yet there also is “a serious side to Horschel’s fashion whimsies.” Those closest to him “see a direct correlation between the way he dresses and the way he plays.” For a golfer who “can be particularly tough on himself, Horschel has found that wearing cool clothes calms him down.” Cacciola noted bold clothes are “not exactly new to golf,” but golfers in general “err on the side of caution.” Buddy Alexander, who coached Horschel when he played at the Univ. of Florida, said that Horschel in college “was conscious of the way he looked and what he wore.” Horschel as a senior was “involved in the selection of team uniforms.” When a rep for Ralph Lauren, one of his sponsors, asked if “he would be interested in wearing octopus pants at the United States Open, Horschel said yes, because he thought that octopus was a new cut.” Horschel said, “But then the octopus pants came, and I realized, oh, there’s an actual octopus on them”(N.Y. TIMES, 6/30).
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