A Major Deal
PGA TOUR pros commonly strike club usage deals with manufacturers. They get a lot of money up front to play the brand’s clubs all year. While manufacturers ideally like to tie the players to pacts for playing as many clubs as possible, TOUR pros like to keep their options open — just in case a driver or putter, for instance, stops working its magic. So while the money is good, the commitment may not be. Few players go contract-less. Which is what makes 2018 so unique: Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open, PGA Championship), Patrick Reed (Masters) and Francesco Molinari (The Open Championship) collectively won this year’s Majors, yet none were under contract with any club brand. All were with Nike Golf. While Reed jumped to Callaway in 2013, Koepka and Molinari stayed with Nike until it left the club business in 2016. Ironically, both Reed and Koepka still use Nike clubs among their mixed bags. Molinari primarily plays TaylorMade clubs. The outspoken Reed recently said that he doesn’t think any one manufacturer can make 14 perfect clubs and golf ball for one player. He plays a combination of clubs from seven different brands. While all three of these players continue having success as free agents, don’t expect them to ink a sponsor deal anytime soon. Yet as brands begin to assess their 2019 staff rosters, expect them to at least try and court this trio with tempting offers.