Abraham Ancer is, in a word, ascendant. The 29-year-old dual citizen (Mexico and the Unites States) is currently ranked 21st in the world and has earned over $7 million in his last three seasons on the PGA Tour. He had a star-turn at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia, leading the Internationals with 3.5 points — a haul matched only by Sungjae Im. In short, he should be an endorsement dream — a player with international reach, recognition and appeal — and the results to back it up.
But whereas Ancer’s peers are earning millions via equipment and apparel sponsorships with big brands like Adidas, Callaway, Nike and Puma, Ancer has taken a different approach. Rather than don a slew of logos for different companies, Ancer has invested in each of his endorsers, which include Miura, Flecha Azul tequila and Black Quail apparel.
For Ancer, who founded Flecha Azul and Black Quail with his business partner, Aron Marquez, having an ownership stake in the companies he represents was a no-brainer.
“Having projects outside of golf, it’s fun, something that I’m really passionate about,” Ancer said. “I won’t get involved with anything that I am not passionate about. If I’m not passionate, I’m just not going to be fully invested. I want to be completely, completely invested. And these are two things [Flecha Azul and Black Quail] that I am extremely passionate about.”
Ancer and Marquez had a serendipitous introduction four years ago when they were paired together at a PGA Tour pro-am at the Charles Schwab Challenge, in Forth Worth, Tex. Marquez, an entrepreneur, and Ancer immediately bonded over their shared humble beginnings, Mexican heritage and desire to be the very best in everything they do. Marquez is the CEO and founder of Wildcat Oil Tools, an oil and gas service company. Wildcat Oil Tools became an Ancer sponsor shortly after the tournament. As a result, Ancer and Marquez worked closely together, and their friendship grew, which led to their subsequent business partnerships. Ancer even wrote a testimonial for Marquez’s forthcoming book on visionary leadership entitled Never Settle, which will be released in November.
“Of course, two Mexican guys, the first thing we talk about is tequila or tacos,” Marquez laughs, recalling his initial meeting with Ancer. “I’m involved in different businesses. I just love investing in kind of something different, and so I started looking into tequila, and started doing a lot of background work. And then I mentioned to Abraham, I said, ‘Hey, I’m looking into this. Let me see if it makes sense, but I think it would be great for us to look into having our own line of tequila.’ And then he was like, ‘Are you kidding me? That would be an absolute dream.'”
The initial seed thus planted, Marquez and Ancer went to work, with the goal of creating a healthier, premium product that was better than anything they had tasted before. The result? Flecha Azul tequila. The company’s name has broad significance for both. It means “Blue Arrow” in English, and the logo incorporates an arrow and a blue agave plant — a reflection of the duo’s shared background and hope for the future.
“Abe and I came from humble beginnings, but we didn’t let it limit us,” Marquez says. “We’ve succeeded through hard work. An arrow, standing alone, is insignificant, but when it’s placed in a bow, pulled back, and released, it becomes a powerful weapon. We want young men and women to see our story and realize that they too can achieve their dreams if they are willing to invest in themselves.”
Flecha Azul’s tequila was an immediate success. It is currently available in Texas, but a recent agreement with Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits means Flecha Azul’s market is expanding to three other states in the fourth quarter of this year, and the company expects its tequila to be available nationwide by the end of 2021, with an eye on exploring opportunities in international markets next.
“Abraham’s been involved with every aspect of the design and the bottle and everything, and each profile,” Marquez says. “We have five different profiles. So we did a lot of tastings, to make sure that we had the right tasting.”
“That’s the fun part,” Ancer says, laughing.
There’s a long list of Tour players who have entered the wine business — Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam and Nick Faldo, to name a few — but a spirit like tequila is somewhat uncharted territory. In the U.S. especially, there are preconceived notions about tequila (some negative) that Ancer and Marquez intend to dispel through an aggressive marketing campaign..
“We want to show people how awesome tequila is, and you can actually enjoy the flavor of it,” Ancer says. “You don’t want to shoot it; you want to actually kind of sip it and actually enjoy it and know about it, how the profiles are different from each other, and all the processes. I find it fascinating.”
As much as Ancer enjoys being a part of his side businesses, he makes no secret of his motive for being so invested.
“You never know what can happen with golf,” Ancer says. “My dream was to be a professional golfer, so I’m very lucky to be in the position that I am. I love what I do. But I also want to be — like I said, you never know what can happen. I can break my hand. I don’t want any of that.”
Ultimately, the success of Ancer’s businesses is a meaningful insurance policy should his golf career come to an abrupt or unexpected end. Even his equipment choices play into his overall financial philosophy. Though Ancer plays a mixed bag with no endorsement money, he’s a partner in DSP Mexico, the exclusive Mexican distributor for Miura Golf, the Japanese club company that has made his irons for the last five years.
The end result of Ancer’s efforts is, essentially, greater control of his financial future, as well as an opportunity to pursue interests outside the game of golf.
“Aron kind of woke up the entrepreneurial side of me,” Ancer says. “It’s not like a normal sponsorship; I’m a part of this project since the get-go. So I’m really passionate. If something [bad] happens, it breaks my heart. If something good happens, it gets me super happy. So it’s something that I’m extremely invested in.”
Miura and GOLF.com are affiliates of 8AM Golf.
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