Ping, Bubba Watson just agreed to the most unique gear contract in the industry
It could be argued that no one has a longer running gear relationship in the equipment industry than Bubba Watson and Ping. The two-time Masters champion has been playing Ping clubs since he received a junior set at the age of 8. His very first putter was a Ping B60.
Ping is in Watson’s equipment DNA, and that won’t be changing anytime soon after the two sides agreed to a new contract that will see Watson continue to represent the manufacturer well beyond his expected PGA Tour career.
Ping is calling it a “lifetime” contract, which is a rarity in an industry where most club and ball agreements last only a few years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by Ping.
“I’ve been playing Ping equipment since I was a kid,” said Watson. “So basically my whole life. I love the company and truly believe Ping is committed to making the best equipment. I can’t thank the Solheim family enough for their support during my career. Ping and the Solheim family have played a huge role in my golf career and my life. I’m very grateful they’ve put their faith in me to represent them for the rest of my career.”
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Watson was first brought to Ping’s attention by the late Billy Weir, a longtime sales representative for the company in Georgia and North Florida. When Weir retired, he found himself frequently playing rounds with a young lefty bomber who captured his attention. It wasn’t long before Weir reached out to Ping chairman and CEO John A. Solheim to let him know about Watson’s raw talent and creativity on the course.
From that point forward, Watson was on Ping’s radar.
“I remember my great friend Billy Weir telling me about Bubba and how he had a gift to play the game like few he’d ever seen. He was not only a long hitter, he played with creativity and passion,” John A. Solheim said. “He really stood out. I first met him when he was 13 and we’ve since developed a very close friendship,” said John A. Solheim. “He reminds me of my father Karsten in a lot of ways. Bubba is a very creative thinker who does things his own way – especially in the way he thinks about marketing. His idea to play a pink shaft and pink clubhead is just one example of his creativity, which led to us partnering with him in raising more than $250,000 for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.”
Outside of the deal Phil Mickelson signed with Callaway in 2017 to play the company’s equipment through the remainder of his competitive playing career, Watson’s new contract is the longest (and most unique) in the industry. It’s an outside-the-box deal befitting one of the most creative players in the history of the game.