By Peter Bukowski
Thursday, June 02, 2016

Kyle Reifers knows what you’re thinking: Damn, those are big logos on his shirt.

“It’s been kind of a laughing point with the guys for a little bit here,” Reifers said in a phone interview Thursday shortly before his afternoon tee time at the Memorial.

Have you seen the logos? Heck, you couldn't have missed them. The front right of his shirt sports an enormous Chef's Cut beef jerky logo complete with a red kicking bull, while the front left rents out space to the tech consulting firm NV5, its emblem emblazoned in black, two-inch-high script. A third sponsor, LYNLY Insurance,  occupies most of his left sleeve.

Reifers looks less like a golfer than a NASCAR driver. 

The oversized logos weren’t written into any of his endorsement deals, they just sort of happened, Reifers said. And now, he jokes, there’s no going back.

“The consumer might think if I make the logo smaller, [Chef’s Cut] might change the packaging to 4 ounces from 8 ounces,” Reifers said, laughing. 

The primary reason Reifers’ monster logos have been getting attention, of course, is because they’re getting airtime on Sunday afternoons. Among his four top-10s finishes this season were his fifth-place finish at Colonial last week and a T-10 at the Byron Nelson the week before that.

The jerky sponsorship, for one, seems to be working -- out on Tour, anyway. Reifers said his fellow pros have approached him and asked where they can score some Chef’s Cut. TaylorMade and Titleist started stocking the cured meat in their trailers.

Reifers himself is also a fan, which he says makes the partnership more genuine.

“We’ve had all had companies or sponsors where you’re going, ‘The numbers might work but what kind of company are you guys again? What do you do?’”

Reifers’ sponsors have good reason to expect more TV time this weekend. Reifers, 32, is from Columbus and grew up caddying at Muirfield Village.

“I know that place like the back of my hand,” he said.

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Playing down the stretch in big-time tournaments has given Reifers the confidence to handle the pressure he felt earlier in his career of playing in front of home crowds.

“I just really believe in myself,” he said. “The more you have the pairings with the top guys, you believe you can compete week in and week out.”

Reifers, who has been on and off the PGA Tour since 2007, says one of the biggest benefits to playing well is securing more advantageous tee times. The Tour gives the prime slots to the stars, forcing lesser players to go off very early or very late.

“It’s like giving the guy a head start and saying let’s go race,” Reifers says. 

Those tee-time problems vanish when you start to contend for titles, but don’t look for Reifers' logos to go anywhere.

“It’s been good mojo right now,” he said of his billboard-grade branding. “Maybe I can get a few more extra packs of jerky out of it.”

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