SERGIO GOES TMaG: As expected, Sergio Garcia has left Titleist to join the tour staff of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. The parties arent talking about the terms, but sources say the deal is worth $7 million per year over five years.
For that, TMaG gets the 22-year-old Spaniard head-to-toe. Garcia has been wearing adidas apparel and shoes since he turned pro in 1999. Now hell also wear adidas headgear, and hell play TaylorMade clubs and a Maxfli golf ball. (TaylorMade completed its purchase of Maxfli this year.)
'When we looked at who would be the 'perfect global icon,' as the marketing types like to say, the guy who stood out was Sergio, said Mark King, TMaGs president and CEO. Hes young, passionate, and he wants to be No. 1.'
Sergios not wasting any time trying to please the new boss. King and adidas officials were in Paris Oct. 9 to sign the new deal at the European Tours Trophee Lancome event, and Garcia showed up with 11 TMaG clubs in his bag. Hes using the 580 driver, largest in the new 500 line, as well as 300 Series forged irons up through the 5-iron. For 6-iron and shorter, Garcia is using the RAC Muscleback clubs, which North American consumers havent seen yet. There is a RAC wedge series out, but the irons wont available in the U.S. until January.
Over the past few weeks, the Garcia deal was half of a secret it seems everyone knew. As Garcia jumps over from Titleist, longtime TaylorMade endorser Ernie Els will go over to Titleist for club and bag (he has already been a Titleist golf ball endorser for some time) in a switch that has all the earmarks of a baseball-style trade. (For more analysis, see Barr on Business for October 4.) Each company has its separate goals with respect to endorsement staff dynamics and salary cap room. But the bottom-line reason for all the late-season endorsement positioning is marketing. The stakes get higher in the premium segment of the equipment market, which is weathering a tough economy.
But how do you measure the return on investment on the kind of expenditure TMaG will have to lay out for Garcia?
'There are ways ' surveys of articles, TV time, how many impressions people see, King said. But from the intuitive standpoint, you have to go with the notion that this guy is going to be good for the company. You trust in the momentum ' mom and momentum will translate into sales.'
DYNA, BLOW YOUR HORN: Dyna-Powered wedges built by Wilson Golf in the 1950s and 1960s can still be found in a lot of bags. Wilson has never abandoned the seasoned trademark, and now plans five new members of that illustrious family.
The latest models include a gap wedge (52 degrees of loft and 3 degrees of bounce), two sand wedges (54 loft / 8 bounce and 56 loft / 10 bounce), and a pair of lob wedges (58 loft / 6 bounce and 60 loft / 3 bounce). Theyll be available this month at a suggested retail price of $130 each.
KEEPING UP WITH ONE OF THE JONESES: If the rich indeed get richer, then golf-heavy Charleston, S.C. is about the levitate near a new tax bracket.
Noted architect Rees Jones will design a new course on Daniel Island, a 4,000-acre, upscale real estate development on an island within the Charleston city limits. The island already features a Tom Fazio design.
Jones promises multiple shot options, but good players had better bring the A game. Jones is well known for his work as the Open Doctor, remodeling courses for U.S. Opens and other big events. Among courses on that list are Bethpage Black, site of this years U.S. Open; Hazeltine National, where Rich Beem won the PGA Championship; and East Lake Golf Club, a veteran site of the PGA Tour Championship.