McDowell inks equipment deal with Cleveland/Srixon

Goodbye, Callaway. Graeme McDowell is now all about Cleveland Golf/Srixon.

Graeme McDowell, arguably, golf’s biggest free agent for 2011, made it official: He has parted ways with Callaway and signed an endorsement deal with Cleveland Golf/Srixon.

According to his new agreement, the 2010 U.S. Open champion will play Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges and Srixon balls. He also will wear a Srixon hat and glove, and carry a Srixon bag.

Considering the breakout season McDowell had last year, some industry observers have raised questions about his decision to make wholesale changes in his equipment. But addressing the media Tuesday in Hawaii, before the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, McDowell said he has familiarity with his new sponsors and their products.

“I believe in Srixon, a company I’ve had a relationship with for many years,” McDowell said. “I played Cleveland stuff in college.

“I’m sure people are scratching their heads, but like I say, things change, and I always like to have some good energy coming up.”

He’s made other changes within his endorsement portfolio, too. McDowell also will begin wearing Ecco Golf shoes, company officials informed Golf360 today.

According to McDowell, discussions to join Cleveland/Srixon began through a long-time acquaintance, Mike Dunfey, his former golf coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dunfey now works at Srixon.

“I’ve continued to have a great relationship with (Dunfey) over my professional career,” McDowell said. “My Callaway contract was up. . . it just so happened that I just happened to get in contact with a guy at Cleveland/Srixon.”

The Ryder Cup star, who won four times around the world in 2010, also will lend his support to product development efforts.

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