TaylorMade-Adidas' King: Johnson Is Brand's Most Important American Golfer
adidas Group North America President Mark King, who approved golfer Dustin Johnson's lucrative endorsement deal that runs through '15, this week said Johnson "is our most important American golfer," according to Michael Bamberger of GOLF.com. King: "We have Sergio (Garcia, a Spaniard) and we have Justin Rose (an Englishman), but for our American market Dustin Johnson is the most important golfer we have." King said that he "had not talked" to Johnson since last week's announcement that he was taking a six-month leave of absence, but King added that he "has talked to his agent, David Winkle." King expects that Johnson’s camp will "say more next week about the nature of his issues and what he will do in his time away from golf." King said that all TaylorMade contracts "require players to enter a certain number of tournaments per year, but he did not say how many events Johnson must play." Johnson "plays TaylorMade clubs, carries the bag, plays the ball, wears the hat and sleek adidas clothes." He "is emblematic of the company’s youth-oriented, athletic marketing approach." King said that he "did not know anything about the three drug tests Johnson reportedly failed." It "is not known if a failed test would void his endorsement contract with TaylorMade." King said that he "likes Johnson and that the eight-time Tour winner was always willing to do anything TaylorMade asked of him." King is "aware of Johnson’s reputation for hard living and admits that it, along with his unique golf ability, is part of his appeal" (GOLF.com, 8/5).