All wet, Team USA dumps its rain gear
NEWPORT, Wales – Members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team found themselves all wet Friday as they said their waterproof outerwear failed to protect them from the harsh elements of autumn in Wales.
Every player on the U.S. squad, with the exception of Tiger Woods, was soaked before play finally was postponed after two hours.
Woods decided not to wear the waterproof team gear provided and used different layers of clothing to protect himself from the elements, which didn’t work, either.
U.S. captain Corey Pavin picked Sun Mountain Sports of Missoula, Mont., to supply the team’s outerwear.
“Well, we were disappointed with the performance of them, and you know, we just fixed it,” Pavin said of the team’s purchase of new waterproofs. “They were not doing what we wanted them to do, so we went out and bought some more waterproofs.”
According to the Sun Mountain Web site, Sun Mountain has two waterproof lines, RainFlex and traditional outerwear. The traditional outerwear is waterproof, according to the company, but guaranteed only for one year.
Sun Mountain claims that the RainFlex product is waterproof, windproof, stretchable, breathable, comfortable and quiet due to the combination of a dot-laminate waterproof membrane and stretch-taped seams. RainFlex products are guaranteed for two years.
“Sun Mountain has been designing and selling outerwear for more than two decades,” Sun Mountain said in a statement. “We have provided rainwear to 3,000-plus PGA of America professionals and over 150 tour players, and supplied outerwear to numerous U.S. teams, including the Walker Cup and the 2000 and 2009 Presidents Cup teams. Sun Mountain has staff on the ground at the Ryder Cup working in conjunction with the PGA of America on this issue.”
It was incorrectly reported that the Sun Mountain products used by the U.S. team had Gore-Tex, a waterproof membrane manufactured by W.L. Gore Associates, engineered as part of the outerwear.
“There are no products by the U.S. golf team that are engineered with our product,” Yvonne Erickson, marketing leader for Gore-Tex garments, said Friday. “We mutually agreed to part ways in 2006.”
In 2008, the U.S. team was outfitted with Nike outerwear, using its patented Storm Fit technology. From 2002 to 2006, the U.S. team used outerwear from Zero Restriction, which utilizes Gore-Tex technology.
The U.S. caddies and players all were supplied with ProQuip outerwear, purchased from the merchandise tent on-site. The caddies wore red, and the players wore tan. According to sources inside the team room, some players may still use their Sun Mountain gear, as long as it isn’t raining.
ProQuip is the outerwear used by the European team.
Sun Mountain is an official retail licensee of the PGA Tour and supplied the outerwear for the U.S. Presidents Cup team at Harding Park last year.
According to a PGA Tour spokesman, Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples is in the process of choosing the team’s apparel for next year’s Presidents Cup in Australia.
Some players said the U.S. team bags, made by Belding Golf Bags, also leaked at the seams.
“It’s not hermetically sealed,” said Steve Perrin, president of Belding Golf Bags. “The bags are built to withstand the weather, if it’s hot or sunny or if it’s raining cats and dogs.”