Arby’s is now the official restaurant of the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour has a new official partner, and it isn’t one you probably saw coming.

When you think of the traditional PGA Tour professional, you probably think of someone more like Nick Watney than Beef Johnston. The Englishman barreled onto the golf scene last year, a sponsorship deal between “Beef” and  the company who boasts “We have the meats” made sense. That’s right, Andrew Johnston and Arby’s are a bizarre match made in disruptive promotional heaven (he’s inked to a reported two-year deal).

But Arby’s latest foray into the world of golf sponsorship is much more surprising, almost impossible to believe, really. The purveyors of the Beef n’ Cheddar are now the official restaurant of the PGA Tour. And kudos to Johnston as the unofficial broker of this accord.

Indeed, it’s surprising stuff in the world of the aspirational sport where “official partners” include companies like Citi Card, Fortune, Grey Goose, and Tiffany & Co. However, other official partners include Coca-Cola, Michelob Ultra, and O’Douls—significantly more low-brow organizations.

Discussing the partnership, Arby’s chief marketing officer Rob Lynch said,

“We don’t have the budget to throw our logo all over the place. But this will make people look twice, so we think it’s both ludicrous and awesome that we pulled this off.”

Have to love a CMO who uses the phrase “ludicrous and awesome.” Arby’s, who will have a food truck at this week’s Memorial Tournament, found weekend warriors teeing it up at public courses are massive fast food fans and decided it better appeal to that demographic.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell writes the Tour wasn’t looking for a restaurant sponsor, but “found that there were a lot of shared values there and we got excited about the opportunity of working with great marketers.” Further, the folks in Ponte Vedra seemed to like the promotional work Arby’s has done with Johnston.

You know, commercial spots like this one featuring the affable Brit.

Arby’s plans to roll out a series of digital spots branding itself as the official restaurant of “unsanctioned mulligans,” “long gimmes,” “shenanigans” and “Beef.” We’ll look forward to that next to the Phil Mickelson Enbrel commercial.

And a bit of trivia: Arby’s is reportedly where Tiger Woods went after winning his first green jacket at the 1997 Masters, so the fast food chain’s pedigree is actually a distinguished one on Tour.

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