TMAG properties bulk up tour staff
Monday, April 6, 2009
TaylorMade and its latest acquisition, Ashworth, have bolstered their tour staff.
As first reported in Golfweek, Greg Norman joined TaylorMade, the company announced March 31. Then, two days later, the Carlsbad, Calif., equipment company reported the signing of four-time PGA Tour winner Rory Sabbatini.
In related news, Ashworth unveiled April 6 its tour team: Fred Couples, Chris DiMarco, Steve Flesch and Carlos Franco – plus newcomers Sean O’Hair, Charles Howell III, and Ryan Palmer.
The signing of Norman – who is in the Masters field this week – likely will produce the most immediate exposure for TaylorMade.
Norman qualified for a return to Augusta, where he has never won and not competed since 2002, with a T-3 at last year’s British Open. Norman, though not compensated by TaylorMade at the Open, played TaylorMade’s TP Red ball during his surprising title pursuit.
“It started with the TP ball, which I played at the Open Championship last year,” Norman said through a TaylorMade news release. “I’m pleased that the discussions have evolved to the extent that I am now a member of the TaylorMade staff. TaylorMade’s approach to the game and equipment design is very similar to my own.”
Norman, 54, will play TaylorMade clubs, a TaylorMade TP golf ball, use a TaylorMade staff bag and display the TaylorMade logo on the side of his headwear.
Norman, who spent 331 weeks as the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer during the 1980s and ’90s, has won 90 times worldwide, including 20 victories on the PGA Tour, notably the 1986 and ’92 British Opens.
“Our relationship with Greg Norman is really a throwback to the way business was done when I started my career,” said Mark King, TaylorMade-Adidas Golf’s chief executive officer and president. “Greg let us know prior to last year’s Open Championship that he was going to play our TP Red ball. From our perspective, it is exciting to be working with Greg and seeing him go out there and give these guys all they can handle.”