Tour transfer window: Which players are using new sticks?January, 2016
Plenty of movers and shakers as the biggest brands in golf announce their tour line-ups for 2016
The biggest signing this off-season, for me, is Brooks Koepka’s move to Nike.
He certainly fits the Nike athlete profile and has the game to challenge for majors in the near future. He’s right up there in terms of driving distance – think of him as the American Rory if you like. A massive coup for the brand and Koepka himself.
I was a bit surprised to see him leave Titleist seeing as he’s best pals with Peter Uihlein who’s father is the boss.
Other key signings for Nike include fellow big hitter Tony Finau, English duo Ashley Chesters and Tom Lewis along with Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard.
Running Koepka’s move close was Australian Marc Leishman’s switch from Titleist to Callaway.
The 32-year-old made it into the play-off at The Open and won his last event of 2015 so he was hardly struggling with his gear.
Callaway finished 2015 major-less so maybe they think Leishman is the man to bring glory back to the brand?
Eight-time major winner Tom Watson has also signed up after previously being with Adams.
Keeping the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Justin Rose means TaylorMade will certainly be in the mix for majors in 2016.
We’ve heard unconfirmed reports that Frenchman Victor Dubuisson will also be teeing it up with TaylorMade woods and irons next year.
He’s a free agent (and a free spirit) so it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes without an official deal and just use whatever he wants, when he wants. It would be a surprise to me if he opted to use anything other than Titleist Vokey Wedges.
Parsons Xtreme Golf have been very busy signing no less than 12 big name players for the 2016 season.
Reigning Open champion Zach Johnson has switched over from Titleist, Chris Kirk from Callaway and Billy Horschel has joined the brand from Ping.
They join Ryan Moore, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Champions Tour player Rocco Mediate and LPGA stars Christie Kerr, Alison Lee and Gerina Piller.
A few notable losses (see above). But they have got Jordan Spieth. And in Justin Thomas they have another rising star on their hands. Add to that Jimmy Walker, Adam Scott, Byeong-Hun An and Bernd Wiesberger to name a few so it’s a very solid line-up.
Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, Hideki Matsuyama, Russel Knox and Smylie Kaufman are among the brand’s star players for 2016.
Inbee Park is the brand’s big hitter on the LPGA Tour using the super-premium XXIO range of woods and irons.
Not known for throwing loads of money on dozens of tour players, Ping have re-signed Louis Oosthuizen who just missed out at The Open in 2015. When fit, he’s a threat to any field.
With the likes of Bubba Watson, David Lingmerth and Andy Sullivan on board and the introduction of the new G range, 2016 is shaping up nicely for the brand.
Don’t be surprised to see Ping staffer Miguel Angel Jimenez tearing it up on the Senior and Champions Tour this year.
It’s all about Rickie Fowler for Cobra who signed a deal extension last year. If Rickie is happy, Cobra seem happy and they don’t feel the need to chase any other players.
The same could be said about Lexi Thompson on the LPGA who also fits the brand perfectly
They still have Jonas Blixt onboard who has been far too quiet in recent years with Greg Norman and Jesper Parnevik as brand ambassadors.
Blair O’Neal and The Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders are also onboard.
No marquee signings and it looks like Chris Wood is starting to take over from Luke Donald as the brands poster boy. Donald revealed he nearly quit the game after struggling for form but seems to be in a better place mentally so so can hopefully start climbing the rankings again soon.
Wood will be playing in the Masters for the first time this year.
Mizuno are strong in the ladies game with former world number one Stacy Lewis, Danish duo Nicole Broch Larsen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen along with Scottish star Kelsey MacDonald.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has re-singed for the brand along with Germany’s Marcel Siem and England’s Anthony Wall.