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Jason Day debuts as Malbon Golf’s first ambassador

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Jason Day debuting Malbon Golf at the Kapalua Resort prior to The Sentry. (Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR)

Jason Day debuting Malbon Golf at the Kapalua Resort prior to The Sentry. (Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR)

    Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

    KAPALUA, Hawaii – Jason Day could feel the stares when he walked onto the driving range Monday.

    It’s been a few months since Day’s last TOUR start, but that didn’t explain why he was unrecognizable to some of his peers.

    His clothes were the reason. As endorsement contracts expire and players sign with new companies, the start of a new year also means the debut of new gear. It was Day’s new wardrobe that caught his peers off guard. Wearing an olive satin jacket and baggy pants of a lighter shade, some players mistook Day for an interloper who’d snuck his way onto the practice area.

    “Even Joe (Skovron, the longtime TOUR caddie for Rickie Fowler, Tom Kim and Ludvig Åberg), was like, ‘I didn't know who it was. I didn't recognize the person,’” Day said Monday. “We're like, ‘How did that person get in here hitting balls on the range?’ It was just crazy. Everyone was looking at me giving me side eye.”

    Seeing Day without the trademark Nike swoosh was jarring enough. He’d worn Nike clothes for more than a decade, including the dominant years when he reached No. 1 in the world and won the PGA Championship and THE PLAYERS. Day’s departure adds to the questions about Nike’s future in golf apparel

    Contributing to the confusion when Day arrived at Kapalua was the fact that he is now wearing a brand that no player had previously worn on the PGA TOUR.

    Day is now the first PGA TOUR player to serve as an ambassador for Malbon Golf, the streetwear brand that describes itself as “a lifestyle brand inspired by the game of golf.” The company’s clothes bring back a vintage aesthetic, and that was seen in Day’s outfit Monday.

    His shirt had a looser fit and longer sleeves than the athletic fit that has become standard on TOUR. It was reminiscent of the shirts Tiger Woods wore early in his career. Day said he likes that fit, and not just for fashion reasons.

    Jason Day at Kapalua Resort prior to The Sentry. (Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR)

    Jason Day at Kapalua Resort prior to The Sentry. (Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR)

    “I'm more interested in having a more relaxed, loose-fitting type of clothing, especially out here because, obviously, the clothes that you see now these days, everything's very athletic looking,” Day said. “And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just looking for a bit of a change and this is it.

    “There's nothing worse than when you're playing golf and you put a sweater on or something like that and it just feels so restrictive. You're restricting your swing.”

    Day said it was some of his younger friends, and the company’s presence on social media, that introduced him to Malbon Golf. When it came time to look for a new clothing sponsor, he liked the idea of being a company’s first ambassador and the increased input that would give him into what he wears. Though the partnership is in its early days, Day has met with the founders and begun discussing ideas with them. He said he also will wear the company’s Korean line on TOUR, which will include more exuberant designs and bigger branding. It’s stuff that will make a statement.

    “As (last) year progressed, I was sitting there thinking maybe I want to start my own clothing brand and come out with a custom style, more old-school type fitting, different types of fabrics and all that stuff,” Day said. “And then Bud (Martin, Day’s agent) was talking to me and he's like, ‘Hey, Malbon would like to send you some clothes.’ Then I received them and I'm like, ‘This actually feels pretty good.’ They also said they'll make anything I want, which is great. So just being able to not only meet Stephen and his wife Erica, understand the process of what they're doing with Malbon. And then being the first guy. … it's nice to be able to stand up on the first tee and have a different look than most people.”

    Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.

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