Value Of Golf Equipment Deals Falling For Majority Of Tour Players
The value of equipment deals in golf is "falling for all but the biggest stars -- making it more crucial for pros to earn money on the course," according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Golfers Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari, the winners of the year's first three majors, are "all playing without equipment sponsors this year, as is Kevin Na, another recent PGA Tour winner." Players like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson still "earn several million dollars annually" on equipment deals. However, offers for most other players have "dropped substantially." A mid-level PGA Tour player who "made $500,000 a decade ago might make $250,000 now." Puma, which "used to sponsor several PGA Tour players, now sponsors only two: Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau." A TaylorMade spokesperson added that his company has "reduced the number of players it endorses but declined to share specifics." Costa notes Nike's exit from equipment manufacturing "not only impacted the more than 40 players it had on staff," it also "softened the market for everyone else." It left players with "more years remaining on their Nike deals -- McIlroy, Koepka and Molinari among them -- in an unusual spot." Nike continues to "pay players the full value to wear its apparel," though if they "sign another equipment deal, Nike’s financial obligation to them is significantly reduced." That diminishes the "incentive for them to commit to one manufacturer" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/9).