The exposure PGA Tour golfers receive on television makes them very attractive to businesses eager to have their names seen by golf fans from coast to coast. While golfers haven’t become walking billboards the way many race drivers have, it’s a very rare tour player who doesn’t at least wear a sponsor’s name on his hat.
The idea of placing a business name or logo on a golfer’s hat didn’t originate within the golf industry. It was appliance manufacturer Amana that began offering PGA Tour players $50 to wear the company’s hat during a four-day tournament. Amana also put each golfer on the company’s health insurance plan.
Different areas of a player’s outfit are worth varying amounts of money to sponsors. The front of a PGA Tour golfer’s hat, which is visible in any televised close-up, is one of the more desirable locations for sponsors. The My Golf Spy website estimated in 2009 that sponsors paid at least $75,000 per year to put their names on the front of tour player’s hats, adding that Luke Donald received $1 million annually from his sponsor. Many players wear a company name or logo on their hat as part of a larger deal. Tiger Woods’s overall deal with Nike in 2009, for example, was estimated at $20 million per year.
Deal, or No Deal
Ryan Moore made headlines in 2009 when he refused any sponsorships for the season. Pro golf agents told Golf.com that Moore could’ve received $200,000 for a hat sponsorship alone that season. The following year, Moore signed a sponsorship deal that included wearing the hat of clubmanufacturer Adams.
Rookies Cash In
Even new tour players can cash in on hat sponsorships. In 2010, according to “Forbes,” first-year tour pro Ben Martin signed a contract with Titleist the day after he turned pro. Although details of the deal were not disclosed, Forbes noted that Titleist's standard minimum for a PGA Tour player is $150,000. At any rate, Martin wore the company’s hat and glove and carried a Titleist bag.
PGA Tour Regulations
The PGA Tour’s “Player Endorsement Policy” limits what may appear on a player’s clothing, including his hat. Forbidden messages or images include anything promoting the sale of alcohol, tobacco products -- except for cigars and pipe tobacco -- and any form of gambling. Images on a player’s hat or other clothing must be “in good taste” with respect to its size and number. The policy recommends that no logo be larger than 3 by 5 inches. In general, the tour mandates that images or messages on a player’s clothing should be “tasteful and in accordance with standards of decorum expected of professional golfers.”