It’s no secret the golf industry — including equipment manufacturers — has been hurt badly by the economic downturn. Apparently, for Cobra, it’s gotten to the point where they aren’t renewing bag sponsorships. The company will honor the remaining time on contracts, but no new ones will be signed for now. According to a source, Cobra’s sales have dropped 60% from last year.
At The Barclays, I overheard an agent’s conversation. He said that on the day before the British Open started, a high-placed Titleist (Cobra’s parent company) representative told Geoff Ogilvy his sponsorship wouldn’t be renewed. Yes, it was so urgent he had to give him the bad news on the eve of a major tournament. He couldn’t wait for an off week or even for the tournament to end. How considerate.
The agent also mentioned that Team Ogilvy has been shopping for a new bag sponsor. Their asking price is around $3 million. But it appears the bids received so far have been in the $600,000-$700,000 range. For a player who is ranked 8th in the world? Wow, things must really be grim.
Here’s another Titleist nightmare story, according to a source: A few years ago, Bubba Watson, who plays a Titleist ball, was waiting to hear from the rep about renewing his contract. He finally decided to call them himself. Supposedly he questioned the reason they hadn’t gotten in touch with him and in so many words asked, “You don’t care about the longest hitter playing your ball?” The rep replied, “No, you’re just a number to us.”
So, there you have it. Golf pros are not people.
[Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images]