PING announced today it has re-signed three of the top-ranked players in the world to new multi-year contracts. Lee Westwood, Bubba Watson, and Louis Oosthuizen – fourth, seventh, and 11th, respectively, in the latest Official World Golf Ranking – have all been with PING their entire pro careers. Each comes into this week’s Tour Championship high on the FedExCup points list.
“Personally, it has been gratifying to watch these men progress in their careers and fulfill the potential they first showed at very young ages,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman and CEO. “Success in this sport is tremendously hard to achieve, and to sustain their high level of play over many years is a testament to how hard they work, which enables them to get the most out of their unique talents. We’re proud to have played a role in helping them reach an elite level by providing them with custom-fit equipment, and supporting them on tour. They are wonderful global representatives for our brand.”
As part of the agreements, all three men will wear a PING hat, carry a PING staff bag and play a minimum of 11 PING clubs, including a PING driver and PING putter. Financial terms and the length of the agreements were not disclosed.
Long one of the game’s biggest stars, 39-year-old Lee Westwood has won 40 times internationally, including twice this season. Next week he will play on his eighth European Ryder Cup team.
“I’ve played PING clubs for 27 years, and I’ve been associated with the company my whole career, so we have a comfort level that has contributed to my success,” Westwood said. “I rely on PING clubs because the quality and performance are so consistent, and that gives me confidence. And no matter which corner of the world I am playing in, the people at PING are always there for me, which puts me at ease.”
In April, Bubba Watson’s status as a fan favorite soared when he won the Masters in dramatic fashion after an improbable escape shot from the woods on the second hole of a playoff with Oosthuizen. Known for leading the tour in average driving distance (he’s currently #1 at 315.3 yards), this season Watson has also been at or near the top in greens in regulation, and he has six top-10s, including two second-place finishes. This year’s Ryder Cup will mark his second time playing for the U.S.
“PING is family to me,” said Watson, 33, who has played PING clubs since he was a teenager. “The people there root for me, and they make great equipment that is built perfectly for my swing, down to the smallest detail. I have some unique specs, and they always deliver what I need to perform my best. It takes a partnership to succeed out here, and the people at PING have the same attitude I do – that we’re a team.”
Nine career wins for South African Louis Oosthuizen include the 2010 Open Championship, and he has two titles this season, plus a second-place at the Masters. At Augusta, he hit one of the most memorable shots of the year. On the par-5 second hole on Sunday, he holed his second shot from 255 yards with his S56 4-iron, recording only the fourth double-eagle in Masters history. Now 29, he has played PING clubs since he was 14.
“My relationship with PING is built on trust and loyalty, and after so many years, they not only know my needs, they anticipate them,” Oosthuizen said. “I like to try all of PING’s new products right away, and the PING guys on tour are great at fine-tuning the equipment to fit my game. I switched to the new Anser driver because it takes a strength of mine and makes it even better. They always seem to know what will help me improve, so I have a lot of faith in what they do for me.”