Ashworth Adding Young Lions to Classic Brand

Ashworth Adding Young Lions to Classic Brand

Sean O'Hair Thursday at Augusta National.
John Biever/SI

Sean O’Hair, who battled Tiger Woods down to the wire at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, switched his apparel sponsorship to Ashworth Inc. this week at the Masters. The deal is more of an in-house transfer than a defection, since O’Hair has been sponsored head-to-toe by TaylorMade-Adidas, which bought the Ashworth company last year.

Ashworth has also recently signed Charles Howell III and Ryan Palmer to its tour staff, as the company seeks a more youthful face to its classic brand. For a number of years, Fred Couples has been the icon for Ashworth apparel, which also numbers Chris DiMarco and Steve Flesch among its top sponsored golfers.

“Everyone here is excited about the young blood and new players,” said Eddie Fadel, the vice president of global apparel at Ashworth, who is familiar with its branding philosophy. “It’s a little bit of a youth movement. Sean wants to develop his own style. Obviously, he’s got a lot of game.”

O’Hair will continue to play TaylorMade equipment, which means, in the increasingly complex world of golf endorsements, that his hat will say TaylorMade (or refer to its products), his shoes will be Adidas, but his shirt and trousers will be from Ashworth.

In perhaps a golf fashion first, Geoff Ogilvy sported different colored versions of the same Puma golf shoe for his Masters practice and par three event on Wednesday. His right shoe was white, his left one black.

Pourquoi? It’s not entirely clear, but apparently the whole Puma collection that he wears has a black-and-white theme, so the company wished to highlight the idea by having him wear a mismatched pair of the same Swing Crown GTX shoe. Well they succeeded—we noticed.

Ogilvy is back to wearing matching golf shoes for the tournament itself.

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