Every November and December, at the end of a season on the United States Professional Golf (PGA) Tour, the United States Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour, the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour, and the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, players find themselves in deep thought. It’s a time when they have to decide what to do with the clubs and balls they used one season and what to do with them the next.
This year is no different. Players are torn between staying the same and changing. Here’s another option they’re considering. Instead of signing a contract with a specific brand, they can choose to use a club of their choice. 아톰카지노
Different players and tours have different standards for the amount of money they receive, but it can range from hundreds of millions of dollars to tens of millions of dollars. Some players who are ranked in the top 10 and have a huge global impact have been known to sign multi-billion dollar contracts.
Still, there are many professional golfers who consider becoming an unrestricted free agent each year because it’s hard to find a favorite among all 14 clubs and balls. As 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed (USA), who now plays for LIV Golf, explained, “It’s virtually impossible to like all 14 clubs and balls from a particular brand, which is why I didn’t sign a contract when I won the Masters and just used what I wanted.” This is especially true on the PGA Tour.
The reason so many players on the PGA Tour use their favorite clubs is because the prize money is so much bigger than it used to be. With a top-10 finish in a $20 million PGA Tour event worth $545,000, some players feel it’s more important to use clubs that will help them perform well than to make a down payment.
“You can make a lot of money in one fell swoop with an equipment contract, but you can’t change mid-season, so I buy the clubs I want,” says one PGA Tour player. “I only sign an equipment contract if there’s a certain fit – woods, wedges, and balls. If I play well in one or two tournaments, I get paid for it, so I think I’ll continue to do that.”
Players with a history of poor performance after signing a contract are especially wary. “There’s not much difference in performance between drivers, irons, and wedges from major brands,” says a Korean Tour player. “However, there are some clubs that are not compatible,” he says. “Psychology is very important in golf, and if you are not confident in the clubs you are using, your shots will suffer. For this reason, we are very careful about our equipment contracts.”
In Korea, some players have recently pulled out their old clubs rather than the new brands they signed with this year. “There are players who suddenly feel uncomfortable or like they don’t fit in, even if they’ve been testing them for months,” said a contract manager at an equipment company. “We’re cautious about signing new contracts because we know that clubs are important and sensitive to players. It’s great to see them do well, but it’s heartbreaking to see them drop off after a change.”
Athletes’ utilization rates are important for promotional purposes, so some brands offer special incentives for completing a season or competing in more than a few events. “In addition to the traditional down payment, some companies offer incentives based on the number of tournaments played, performance, etc. But because we know how important the club is to our players, equipment contracts take longer and more thought than any other contract.”
For the same reason, equipment contracts are broken down into woods, irons, wedges, putters, and balls. “If you’re signing 14 clubs and balls to one brand, you’re going to lose a lot of players,” says a player on the LPGA Tour, “and some brands will take wedges, putters, and balls out of the equation. Both the player and the brand suffer when scores drop, so there’s more flexibility than ever before in terms of equipment contracts.”
The one item that players are most reluctant to sign is the putter. The putter can make or break a season, so they carry a lot of different products. “I wouldn’t sign a contract with a brand for hundreds of millions of dollars for a putter,” said one DP World Tour player. “If you’re not good on the greens, you’re never going to be in the top ten. “If you’re not good on the green, you’re never going to be in the top 10,” he said, “because the putter is the most used and important club out of the 14.
The hardest thing to change is the ball. Titleist and Callaway, among others, have made discontinued models available to players upon request. “Even though the balls are renewed every two years, many players are still using models that are 10 or eight years old,” said one brand’s ball representative. “It’s important for players to be able to play their best, so we create special lines at the factory.”