PGA strikes sponsorship deal with Omega

Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot at the 17th hole during the final round of the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot at the 17th hole during the final round of the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Omega, the Swiss luxury watchmaker, long has been a major sponsor of professional golf in Europe and Asia. Now, it’s raising its profile in the U.S. with a five-year marketing deal with the PGA of America.

The agreement, which extends through the PGA’s centennial in 2016, makes Omega the “official timekeeper” at several of the association’s marquee tournaments and venues such as the PGA Golf Club and Valhalla Golf Club. Omega also becomes an official licensee of the 2012 and 2014 Ryder Cup.

The partnership will be launched at the PGA Championship, scheduled for Aug. 8-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

“With our tournaments in Europe and Asia, Omega has long supported the growth of golf as a global game. . . “ said Stephen Urquhart, the company’s president. “This partnership also gives us a fantastic platform to develop the brand in the important American market.”

In addition to supporting the PGA’s tournaments, including the PGA Professional National Championship, Omega will commit to advertising on golf telecasts and lend marketing support for the PGA’s player-development efforts.

On an international front, the watchmaker serves as title sponsor of the Omega European Masters, the Omega Mission Hills World Cup of Golf and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It has endorsement deals with a roster of professional golfers, including Greg Norman.

Omega’s deal with the PGA coincides with its retail push in the U.S. In 2010, the company opened nine Omega boutiques in the U.S. and plans to open 20 more this year.

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