PXG founder rebukes LIV Golf, declined to renew player contracts

bob parsons of pxg

PXG founder Bob Parsons confirmed his company wouldn't associate with LIV going forward.

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Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear wrap-up in which GOLF equipment editor Jonathan Wall takes you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.

Contrarian view

Bob Parsons’ booming voice is impossible to miss in advertising spots during golf telecasts. The PXG founder has been selling golfers on the benefits of his “blazing fast” clubs since the equipment manufacturer burst onto the scene in 2016. Even if you don’t play PXG clubs, chances are you’re aware of the brand, thanks in part to Parsons.

As the loudest voice in the room, Parsons, 72, has always been the contrarian in a sea of established equipment blue bloods. Doing things differently has generally worked well for him. In 1997, he founded GoDaddy and watched it turn into the largest domain registrar, thanks in part to its controversial Super Bowl commercials.

Parsons’ background is important context when weighing his blunt comments about LIV Golf in a recent Esquire interview. While the rest of Parsons’ equipment peers have refrained from offering an opinion on where they stand with LIV — nearly every major manufacturer has staff players on the Saudi-backed tour — Parsons made an unequivocal statement.

“With the stuff that went down [on] 9/11, I have a hard time getting involved with [LIV],” said Parsons, who served as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps and was awarded the Purple Heart during a tour of duty in Vietnam. “I know, sometimes, bygones got to be bygones, and I’ve forgiven a lot of people. One of them is Jane Fonda for what she did during the Vietnam War. I’m no longer angry at her. I get it. She was young and stupid. But I just cannot bring myself to do anything with [LIV], and the guys who are heroes, they all agree with that.”

Parsons’ remarks are the first public LIV rebuke from a major equipment manufacturer. PXG’s website has also removed all LIV golfers from its staff page.

Parsons told Esquire that PXG had several players, including Pat Perez, Patrick Reed, Hudson Swafford and Jason Kokrak, defect to LIV while still under contract, but the deals were not renewed.

“[W]e’ve had some guys that had contracts that went on that tour, and I honored the contracts,” Parsons said in the interview. “But now that the contracts are up, I have no contract with them, and I don’t think they can contract with sponsors with the LIV tour, at least. I don’t know. I could be speaking out of school, but if I had an opportunity to come up and do it, I wouldn’t do it.”

Equipment deals and promotion are commonplace on the PGA Tour, but on LIV, how manufacturers will or won’t engage with the upstart league remains a gray area for brands that still have contractual obligations to some of the biggest names in the sport. Instead of celebrating their players’ LIV wins, as is the case with PGA Tour successes, manufacturers have remained silent after a LIV victory for one of their staffers.

When OEMs and apparel brands let deals quietly expire, they’re also making a statement, just in a less direct way than Parsons.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.

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