When Tiger Woods launched new business, this guy’s website blew up    

the sun day red logo and chris wright

The launch of Tiger Woods' apparel line, Sun Day Red, was a boon for a website run by Chris Wright (right).

getty images, courtesy chris wright

Chris Wright’s U.K.-based website typically draws about 35 to 40 visitors per day. So when more than 500 times that number — or roughly 20,000 people — found his site on Tuesday, Wright knew something was up.

And that something wasn’t difficult to identify.

But first, some backstory.  

About seven years ago, when Wright was in his late 20s, he and a friend — over pints near their London-area homes — decided they should be playing more golf. They committed to playing once a month and soon found a band of like-minded souls to join them. Several months later, Wright and seven of his golf pals took a buddies’ trip to Portugal. The only thing better than the golf, weather and food was the camaraderie, which got Wright thinking: “Why doesn’t this exist on a larger scale with a group of people who love golf and want to just hang out together and get better?”

Wright’s friends agreed with his sentiment, which was all the encouragement he needed to get cracking on building a large-scale and welcoming-to-all community of golfers who could connect online to talk about the game but also meet up in person for events. Wright’s breezy mission statement summarizes his vision this way: “…mates, competition, banter, some crap golf, the odd bit of good golf and great courses!”  

As a marketing strategist by trade, Wright had the expertise to launch a website, drive search traffic and build an audience. With a mix of content, golf-product discounts and a Facebook group where community members could rap about their golf experiences, Wright began attracting a membership that today has grown to nearly 5,000.

Also helping his efforts, at least in small part, was a catchy name for his community that was a nod to a certain 15-time major winner: Sunday Red Golf.

Even if you only casually follow the game, it’s likely you caught wind earlier this week of Tiger Woods and TaylorMade’s new apparel brand. Woods, who parted ways with Nike at the end of last year, had been teasing his new line for weeks but didn’t officially launch it until Monday evening in Los Angeles. At an event hosted by Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews, Woods and TaylorMade CEO David Abeles were all smiles as they talked through the origin story of their clothing partnership. In large letters on a screen behind them was the brand’s name: Sun Day Red.   

If Sun Day Red sounds and looks a lot like Sunday Red, that’s because all that differentiates the two terms is one tap of the space bar.

For a tiny website run out of the suburbs of London, that subtle difference has meant a traffic windfall.          

As golf fans earlier this week began googling for Woods’ new line with a “Sunday Red” (no space) search query, many came across Sunday Red Golf (Wright’s site) as the top return. Wright said that resulted in a surge of roughly 50,000 visitors to his site from Tuesday to Thursday.

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“I got lots of messages being like, ‘Is there where Tiger’s stuff is going to be?’ I’m like absolutely not,” Wright, now 36 and a father of two, told me by phone Thursday.  

Several retailers have reached out to Wright asking him if they can stock Sun Day Red apparel in their stores. “You’d think they’d realize that this wasn’t Tiger’s site before they got to the contact page,” Wright said with a laugh. “Apparently not.”

Wright said he harbors no resentment against Sun Day Red for pushing up against his brand’s name, and even if he did, there’s not much he could do about it given he does not hold a trademark. Mostly, he said, he’s found the whole episode amusing. “A bit of a fun and a wild week,” he said.

A successful one, too, with the wave of unintended visitors to his site.

“Lots of people are coming and going, ‘This is not Tiger, and this is not what I came for,’ and leaving,” Wright said. “But lots of people are also going, ‘Oh, this is not Tiger, but this looks like fun. Let me see what this is all about.’”

From that latter group, Wright said his community has seen a big spike in registered users this week (“hundreds and hundreds,” he said), and his Facebook group also has grown. “That’s hilarious!!!!” one commenter replied under a message Wright posted about the Tiger mix-up. “Welcome everyone looking for the man himself.”

Wright, for what’s it worth, is a longtime Tiger fan. Growing up in the 90s and 2000s, he watched Woods in his prime, and he and his golf friends still text about epic Tiger moments from yesteryear. That Woods always wore red on Sundays was not lost on Wright. He said he loved “the energy and the vibe” of Woods’ signature color, and that’s why Wright named his golf community in Woods’ honor.

As for any potential business or marketing synergies between Sun Day Red and Sunday Red?

“I was totally unprepared for this,” Wright said with a chuckle. “But if they want it, we can definitely have a discussion.”

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