Before Tiger Woods underwent lumbar fusion surgery in April, he had inked an endorsement deal with Bridgestone and would use their golf ball instead of Nike. This was due to the former equipment provider, Nike, moving from equipment sales to focus on apparel moving forward. Woods also switched over to TaylorMade golf clubs in that process.
The only problem for Bridgestone is the fact that Tiger isn’t playing golf much at all these days. And there is a fear that he’ll never play again. But Bridgestone CEO Angel Ilagan still sees value in having the 14-time major champion’s endorsement deal.
“He actually has more power as an endorser than he does a player,” Ilagan said. “One of the things that we like about having Tiger Woods on board is that he’s really a sports or golf junkie. A science junkie, if you will, and he won’t be playing anything that’s not the very best.”
“Whether he plays or not doesn’t really matter. Obviously, it would be to our benefit if he did play, because we’d just get more and more brand awareness of the fact that he is playing a Bridgestone ball with our nice ‘B’ logo on the side of that ball.”
Isn’t it crazy how Bridgestone still benefits from the Woods even when he’s not playing? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of endorsements. And fans really do take note of what players are wearing out on the course, especially if the style tickles their fancy.
Between 1996-2009, Nike’s golf apparel (and equipment) was booming thanks to Tiger’s dominance. We see a similar effect in the present day with Jordan Spieth and his endorsement deal with Under Armour.
Under Armour took a gamble back in 2013 to sign Spieth when he was 19-years-old, and still an amateur. Thier vice president of sports marketing and sponsorships, Ryan Kuehl loved what he saw from Spieth and knew he could be the face of golf. Not just because of his talent, but his character.
“It was more about the way he handled things, he was mature beyond his years,” Kuehl said. “Clearly the talent was there, his record proved that. But it was his mentality, how he looked at people, how he looked them in the eye, how he treated people, even as an amateur.”
Kuehl and Under Armour have reaped the fruits of Spieth’s labor in their apparel sales.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) October 1, 2017
When fans see a guy like Spieth or Woods on TV, they get in their minds that they want to not only play like them but dress like them as well. It’s a cross between ‘fake it til you make it’ and ‘dress for the job you want, and not the one you have’.
Fans gravitate towards the player that reflects a style that resonates with them. Tiger Woods has a mix between flashy and conservative with his bold red shirt and black pants combination. It’s hard for anyone to be taken seriously in the black and red combo anymore if they are not a scratch golfer.
Being a fan of the game and wearing Tiger’s signature outfit, you’ve literally ratcheted up the pressure on every shot you take in that outfit.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 21, 2017
Spieth leans on the conservative side with the usual blue or green shirt combined with grey or white pants.
— SportsBizWiz (@SportsBizWiz) July 26, 2017
Then on the other side of the spectrum, you have Rickie Fowler who has a boldness unmatched by anyone on tour with the all-orange look or the orange top with white pants look. It has become a growing trend among the younger fans – roughly ages 9 to 14 – to dress up like Fowler at an event in order to grab his attention.
And how could Fowler not spot a kid wearing literally dressed in all orange? It’s like spotting a traffic cone in the middle of the road.
It’s more comical when grown men decide to dress in all orange garb when playing actual golf. These are usually the try-hards who are convinced that an orange Puma jumpsuit will be the fix their golf game needs. Maybe some golf lessons or some psychiatric help is what they really need.
The bottom line is fans are enamored with the styles they see on certain players which prompts them to dress like their favorite golfer so they can feel closer to them. Just like the old saying goes, ‘if you look good…you’ll feel good…and if you feel good…you’ll play good’.