Bubba Watson Leaving Golf Apparel Maker Travis Mathew For Deal With Oakley
Oakley today formally announced the addition of defending Masters champion Bubba Watson to its roster of golfers. Watson fills a void left by another major champion, as Rory McIlroy left the company following the '12 season and is likely to sign a long-term deal with Nike. Oakley last month sued McIlroy for breach of contract. Watson the previous three years had an apparel deal with Travis Mathew (THE DAILY). SB NATION’s Emily Kay noted Watson will "join Ryder Cup teammate Zach Johnson at Oakley." Travis Mathew Marketing Dir Leif Sunderland said that the change “had been in the works for some time,” despite Twitter chatter that “the rift occurred because of some sort of ‘controversial’ photo Watson tweeted from Kapalua” in Oakley gear. Sunderland “declined to comment on reports that Watson has had a financial stake in Travis Mathew, which teamed with the big-hitting lefty to raise funds for various charities by selling limited editions of Bubba wear” (SBNATION.com, 12/31).
HAPPY NEW GEAR: GOLFCHANNEL.com’s Rex Hoggard reported Nike has signed golfer Kyle Stanley to a "multi-year golf ball, clubs, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessory deal.” The company also "signed Nick Watney to a multi-year deal, which includes the same rundown as Stanley.” Stanley and Watney are “expected to be joined on the Nike staff” by McIlroy. A Nike spokesperson said that "there will be a ‘major’ announcement on Jan. 14," which is the Monday before the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, where McIlroy and Tiger Woods will make their season debuts. Hoggard noted Stanley and Watney “appear to be stepping in at Nike for Stewart Cink, who tweeted a photo early Tuesday of his new TaylorMade staff bag with a message ‘Happy New Year to all.’” Lucas Glover “also left Nike for TaylorMade,” which signed John Huh and Ryan Moore as well. Chris Kirk “joined the action tweeting that he was joining the Callaway Golf staff -- as did Gary Woodland” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/1). In Tacoma, Todd Milles reported Stanley on Tuesday prior to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions “debuted his new look -- an all-Nike golf bag and wrapped up in the company’s customary swoosh from head to toe.” Stanley said, “I never thought about (a change) because I had been with Titleist so long ... but we (me and Nike representatives) talked. And as players, we are all interested in getting better, and I feel like I can do that with this new stuff" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 1/2). Meanwhile, Izod yesterday announced deals with Scott Piercy and Spencer Levin. The two golfers will wear Izod Golf apparel on course beginning this month, joining Webb Simpson (Izod).