Bob Parsons's PXG Golf is about to make a Major splash on the PGA tour. That's the rumor anyway.
Hunting Season Has Begun
It's that time of year again. Equipment deals are getting done, big names are on the move (and everyone on the other side of the industry knows it), but due to the litigious nature of the golf industry, nobody is really keen on speaking on the record about players under contract with other companies...even if those contracts are only good for another month.
And so everything is rumor until it's not.
When PXG first launched we told you that Bob Parson's had no desire to be another luxury brand built largely on mythology. From day one, the talk has been about performance, and while even performance is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, whether we like it or not, the PGA Tour is still where performance is validated.
As far as consumer perception goes, you ain't nuthin' until you win on tour.
You know this, I know this, everybody knows this. If you're going to be taken seriously as a golf company, you need to load up on the kind of players that can win with a full bag of your clubs. I'm not talking about journeyman PGA guys, and we're not talking about enough spread to win the weekly driver count either. We're talking about booking the kind of talent that can, and in one case, has already won a major. Two of them actually.
When PXG Golf launched we told you that Bob Parson's wasn't screwing around when it comes to his golf brand, and so here comes your proof.
While nobody is willing to go on record at this time, we can state with an extremely high degree of confidence that the following players have inked equipment deals with PXG.
Zach Johnson (OWGR #11)
Johnson brings with him 12 PGA Tour victories; including two majors. He's proven he can win at anytime, and while he's not the flashiest guy on tour, he's well-liked, and well-respected. He's a guy who can validate a brand overnight.
Given his long-time connection with Titleist, his decision to move to PXG is likely going to raise plenty of eyebrows.
Billy Horschel (OWGR #36)
Perhaps known as much for his fish pants as his game, Horschel has 3 PGA Tour wins, a Top 5 finish in a major, and a FedEx Cup. Of the names making the switch to PXG, it's reasonable to assume his will be the easiest.
He's a PING guy moving to a company whose clubs are designed by former PING engineers.
Chris Kirk (OWGR #41)
Kirk has 4 PGA wins and looks like a guy who could bust out at anytime. Two days ago I would have told you that Kirk was part of Callaway's next generation; one of the guys tasked with carrying the brand when Phil is no longer the guy.
Now I'm telling you Kirk will be one of the guys to help put PXG on the map.
But Wait, There's More...
In addition to the three names listed above, PXG is also rumored to have inked deals with James Hahn, and Charles Howell III. It has also been suggested that PXG is looking to add an even bigger impact player. While we're not sure how much bigger than Johnson PXG could go this season, given the financial realities of the industry, it's not out of the realm of possibility that a Top 10 player could become available before the end of the month.
Probably not, but maybe.
It's Not the Clubs, But It's the Clubs
Product success on tour is a fickle thing. When a guy wins it's because of talent. It's only when he doesn't that people start looking at the equipment.
What will the perception of PXG be?
Signing a bunch of guys - even talented guys - means almost nothing, it's what happens next. A couple of victories and more people will hear about PXG, and perhaps a few more big names will join the ranks.
If the new guys struggle, the blame will be put on the equipment, and that's the kind of albatross that's not easily removed.
It's not overstating it to suggest that this first round of signings will likely determine the future of the PXG brand on tour.