Mickelson Titleist Part Ways on Equipment Deal

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Phil Mickelson, who once touted the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball as the biggest thing since steel shafts replaced hickory and implied that the equipment he played was better than that used by Tiger Woods, has parted company with Titleist more than a year before his endorsement deal was up, reports Golfweek magazine.
 
Mickelson joined Titleist in 2000 after a long tenure with Yonex. After his win at the Masters, a second-place finish at the U.S. Open and a third at the British Open, Mickelson reportedly wanted to renegotiate his equipment endorsement contract. The deal, which was worth $4 million per year, including incentives, was scheduled to expire after December 2005. Titleist reportedly refused to alter the deal midstream, and agreed to a mutual separation.
 
Neither Mickelson, his agent Steve Loy of Gaylord Sports, could be reached for comment. A Gaylord press official confirmed only that Mickelson and Titleist had parted company. Wally Uihlein, chief executive of Titleist parent Acushnet, was also unavailable for comment.
 
Many in the golf industry, even those close to Mickelson, were surprised by the suddenness of Mickelsons departure from Titleist. Almost from the moment he joined the staff, Mickelson was one of the brands chief cheerleaders, claiming that the Pro V1 added 20 or more yards to his drives. Mickelson also appeared frequently in ads for Titleist and FootJoy, Acushnets market-leading shoe and glove brand.
 
When he signed in November 2000, Mickelson was already playing a Titleist ball and wearing FootJoy shoes and gloves. He added Titleist clubs and carried a Titleist bag when his five-year deal with Titleist took effect in January 2001.
 
Brian Hewitt helped report this story.
 
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