Tiger Woods, who has 82 victories in his career, always holds the championship trophy in the same posture. He holds his trophy in his left hand and places it in front of his right chest. Even during interviews, he usually put his left elbow on the table and rested his chin with his left hand. When crossing his arms, keep his left hand up. Is this just a habit? not. It is a thoroughly intentional action. The moment he lifts the trophy, it’s like a professional attitude to make sure the camera catches the best shot of the watch he wears on his left wrist during the interview. It is not just Tiger Woods (USA)
sponsored by the ‘Walking Billboard’ professional golfer .
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Lim Seong-jae (25), Kim Joo-hyung (21), Nellie Korda (USA), and other top ranked players representing the US Professional Golf (PGA) Tour and the US Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour, after the game In common, they wear the watch of the brand that signed the sponsorship contract first. This is the reason why caddies wait in front of the scorecard desk with their watches out.
Top golfers filled with sponsor logos from head to toe are called walking billboards. Many players have signed sponsorship contracts with more than 10 companies, including sponsors that do not attach a logo separately. In addition to the commonly known hats and apparel, there are special sponsorship deals.
Among them, what professional golfers are most proud of is the sponsorship contract with a watch brand. This is because luxury watch companies have high and strict criteria for selecting sponsors. Only a handful of top performers sign contracts with luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and Omega.
Contract terms are different for each player. However, most of the players are supported with a watch, not money. In the case of a luxury watch brand, it is known that a sponsorship contract is signed on the condition that a watch is provided to the player himself and his family for tens of millions of won. A person in charge of golf management explained, “There are only a handful of players who receive money from luxury watch brands other than the watch. I know that most players receive around 5 watches.”
The first thing watch brands ask of athletes is to wear them to official events. Official events include awards ceremonies and press conferences. However, there are exceptions. Since you can’t wear a watch while playing, watch brands exclude players from official events when they’re playing rounds.
Caddies are waiting in front of the scorecard desk as players have to wear watches for all their post-game schedules. A caddy from the PGA Tour said, “In the case of players who have signed a sponsorship contract with a watch brand, the management person separately delivers information about wearing a watch.” They ask me to prepare,” he said.
What happens when an athlete signed a sponsorship contract participates in an official event without wearing a watch? An official familiar with the PGA Tour said, “It will vary depending on the contract, but I know there are rules such as penalties.” As much as we are aware of the watch contract, this situation rarely comes up.”
◆ Nike contract from head to toe
There is a Korean player who recently signed a main sponsorship contract with Nike and drew attention from golf fans around the world. This is Kim Joo-hyung, who became a PGA Tour winner faster than Woods. Covering his entire body with Nike, he is known to have signed a long-term contract for five years at $4 million a year.
What drew attention as much as joining the Nike Corps was the ‘Audemars Piguet (AP)’ logo on the sleeve of the right arm. Nike contracts players to wear only the Nike logo from head to toe. However, Kim Joo-hyung was an exception.
Kim Joo-hyung wears the logo of the Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet on the sleeve of his right arm and is on the PGA Tour. It was early 2021 when Kim Joo-hyung was sponsored by Audemars Piguet. An official in the golf goods industry emphasized, “It is unusual for a Nike player to wear a logo of a brand other than the Nike logo.”
Lim Seong-jae, who is active as a representative of Korean men’s golf, such as receiving the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award for the first time as an Asian player and finishing second in the Tour Championship in the final match of the FedEx Cup Playoffs last season, is active as a Rolex Ambassador along with Woods. Seongjae Lim signed a three-year contract with Rolex in January 2021.
◆ Car industry “We take you to the field”
Automobile brands are also active in sponsoring golfers. Car brands usually sponsor in two ways. There is a player marketing method that directly supports vehicles for players on tour, and there is competition marketing that supports vehicles for players participating in specific competitions.
In February 2021, media around the world paid attention to the traffic accident of Tiger Woods, the ‘golf emperor’. This is because a major accident in which the vehicle overturned put the player’s career in crisis. Fortunately, Woods returned as a player after undergoing surgery and rehabilitation, and golf fans around the world cheered. There are also companies that have received a lot of attention at this time. It is Hyundai Motor Company that produced the Genesis GV80 that Woods rode. The reason Woods rode the Genesis GV80 at the time was that it was the official vehicle of the Genesis Invitational hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Vehicles are supported at all events on the PGA Tour. Automobile companies that signed contracts with each competition, such as Genesis, BMW, and Lexus, provide vehicles to all participants. As the vehicles are waiting at the airport, the satisfaction of the players is enormous. Korean players active on the PGA Tour, such as Lim Seong-jae and Lee Kyung-hoon, also gave thumbs up for car support. These players said, “There will be no PGA Tour players who are dissatisfied with the car support,” and said, “If you are a player who entered the PGA Tour after going through the Korn Ferry Tour, which requires a separate rental car reservation, you have a special satisfaction with the car support.” 메이저놀이터
Among the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour, LPGA Tour, and Korea Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour, there are some tournaments that provide vehicles to players. A typical example is the Genesis Championship, in which an automobile company participates as a main or sub-sponsor. In the case of the Korean Tour Genesis Championship, Genesis vehicles were provided to the top 10 Genesis points for players to ride throughout the tournament.
On both the LPGA Tour and the PGA Tour, there are companies that sign sponsorship deals with caddies rather than players. KB Financial Group and Valspar are examples. On the KLPGA Tour and the KPGA Korean Tour, voice caddies and Bridgestone sponsor several caddies to the extent that they are called caddy clubs.
Even 10 years ago, few companies thought of caddy marketing as a promotional tool. However, as the hats worn by caddies for free began to attract attention, caddy marketing became recognized as a means of publicity. KB Financial Group sponsored the caddy and enjoyed the greatest effect. KB Financial Group, which started signing contracts with 30 caddies on the LPGA Tour from 2020, is even operating a caddy support system that provides subsidies to caddies wearing caps with the KB logo at the Korean Tour KB Financial Live Championship.
The reason why KB Financial Group signed a contract with LPGA tour caddies was that it was judged that the publicity effect was high as it was continuously caught with players on TV. Another is the low cost of sponsorship. There is also a clear standard for caddy sponsorship. KB Financial Group signed a sponsorship contract for the caddies of players within the 60th place in the LPGA Tour prize money rankings.
An official in the golf world said, “Caddy can sponsor at less than 1/10 the cost of a player,” and “The publicity effect is enormous compared to the cost involved. will increase,” he said.
※ Reporter Lim Jeong-woo, the only golfer-turned-sports journalist in Korea, vividly tells the stories of players on and off the field through ‘Real Field Story’.