Playing The Field: Golfers Showing Willingness To Mix-And-Match Equipment Brands On Tour
Many observers thought Nike’s departure from the golf equipment business would "pave the way for others such as Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist and Ping to lock in endorsement contracts with players who suddenly were free agents," but it "hasn’t worked out that way," according to David Dusek of GOLFWEEK. Instead of "all-encompassing deals in which players agree to wear a company’s branded clothing and swing its clubs, many players are taking an à la carte approach to their gear." With the "absence of Nike and the split between TaylorMade and Adidas, these kinds of deals are likely to become more common." There are "fewer manufacturers capable of signing players to all-encompassing deals the way Nike and Adidas (with TaylorMade) could." A few players, like Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka, have "put off equipment deals altogether and are playing without club contracts." Finau is an example of players "showing a willingness to mix-and-match equipment brands." Finau this season has "played Ping woods and irons, along with a Callaway driving iron, Titleist Vokey Design wedges and a Scotty Cameron for Titleist putter." He might "sign an equipment deal in the months ahead." For equipment-makers, the "diversification in endorsement deals is a double-edged sword." While it is "great having more pros use a company’s gear and it costs less to sign golfers to equipment-only contracts," the downside is that it can be "challenging to get the brand’s logo noticed on TV and have the company associated with the player" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/15).