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How TaylorMade got 7 of the best golfers in the world to pose in onesies

December 21, 2019

Believe it or not, TaylorMade actually pulled it off. The brand got seven of the world’s best golfers to wear pajamas and pose for a family Christmas card. Yes, even Tiger Woods wore a onesie.

TaylorMade sent physical Christmas cards to select media on Thursday, featuring Woods, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff all decked out in matching onesies. It’s an idea they began orchestrating about 18 months ago.

Tyler Brett, TaylorMade’s Content Manager, originally conceived it in mid-2018, and wanted to make it happen last year, before Morikawa and Wolff were even on staff. TaylorMade traditionally gathers its pro talent (“Team TaylorMade”) in the same place during the fall to 1.) introduce product to the pros and 2.) film a majority of the promotional materials to be used the ensuing year. It’s a high-strung day of things here, people there, cameras clicking and recording everywhere.

Brett had ordered customized pajamas for the five others (Woods, Rahm, Johnson, McIlroy and Day), all of them different and emblazoned with their names. The only issue was the card wasn’t high priority on commercial shoot day. When another shoot ran long, the Christmas card was the first item plucked from the itinerary.

“When we didn’t get to do it,” Brett says, “I was like, ‘Just our luck. Someone else is going to do this. Steal our idea. Steal our thunder.’ But fortunately that didn’t happen.”

For a more familial look, Brett ordered matching onesies this year. He even had various TaylorMade staffers try them on in the office — “The last thing we wanted was something too small.” — and even had them rehearse the formation of players. They needed to simulate how quickly staff photographer Ollie Neglerio could snap the family photo because, on shoot day, they’d have all of 15 minutes in one of the cottages at The Floridian before the players would be whisked away to other duties.

Like a proud parent, Brett was not going to let his card get bumped from the schedule this year, so he made it the very first order of business. That’s right, one of the first things Player of the Year Rory McIlroy did on a Florida morning in November was zip up his cuddly onesie and sit on the floor in front of the similarly-onesied Masters champion.

“If we did this at the very end of the day,” Brett says, “I don’t know how big the smiles would be.”

This cottage wasn't exactly in the snowy mountains, but rather at The Floridian.
This cottage wasn't exactly in the snowy mountains, but rather at The Floridian.
Courtesy TaylorMade

The players showed up around 6 a.m. on “Christmas Morning” to a hearty breakfast, and one by one they took to a bedroom and donned their respective gear. Each door opening revealed more hilarity.

“I think the entire time they were just in disbelief. But as you can see, they had a lot of fun with it. They embraced it.”

The image soon spread on social media, thanks largely to Darren Rovell of the Action Network and his 2.1 million Twitter followers. Of course, not all of what you see is real, what with the snowy mountains in the window and the perfect wreath above the fireplace, but most of it is. The creative team manufactured a believable set with stockings above the fireplace and a tightly-wrapped drivers. “That might have been the hardest thing of all of this,” Brett said. “Not convincing these athletes to do it, but actually wrapping these golf clubs and golf bags. That was a bit of a challenge.”

Put seven elite pro golfers in the same room — particularly Woods — and plenty ribbing is bound to take place. (Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes video.) But soon enough, the next commercial came calling. Their 15 minutes of Christmas was over and it was back to being pro golfers again.

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