January 01, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Rose's Round 4 highlights from TOUR Championship
The long-standing rumors have officially been settled; Honma Golf, a Japanese-based golf company, announced today that it has signed Justin Rose to a multi-year partnership.
After being a TaylorMade staffer for 20 years, winning the 2013 U.S. Open, winning a 2016 Olympic Gold medal, winning the 2018 FedEx Cup, and climbing to world No. 1 in 2018, the 38-year-old Rose has signed an equipment deal to play Honma Golf clubs starting in January.
Here’s what Rose, who currently stands at No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings, had to say about making the switch from TaylorMade to Honma:
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Honma,” said Rose, in a press release. “Coming off one of my best years professionally, I wanted to make it a point to get better. I believe Honma equipment and the legendary Honma craftsmanship can help make me better.”
Honma, which now sells high-end golf clubs that can run into the five-figure range, was founded in 1959 in Sakata, Japan. According to the company, Honma currently ranks as the “number one golf brand in terms of sales,” based on Nielsen research.
While sales are strong globally, Rose gives Honma its first marquee golfer to represent its company and play its golf clubs. Here’s what the company had to say about the partnership:
“When we thought about the ideal golfer that aligns with our company values, everything pointed to Justin Rose,” said Mr. Liu Jian Guo, Chairman of Honma Golf. “Justin is a world-class player, and beyond that, a gentleman and family man. We are ecstatic to have him on the Honma team. Besides, we strongly believe that with Justin’s local and international influence in the sport and his media coverage and social media following, the partnership will create an immediate and positive uplift of Honma’s brand image and product awareness in mature markets such as North America and Europe which will in turn accelerate the implementation of Honma’s growth strategies in these markets.”
Interestingly, Mark King, who was the TaylorMade CEO from 1999-2013, was hired as a strategic advisor for Honma in 2018. We’ve yet to hear from King about his role in Rose’s switch. What we know for sure is that Rose will give Honma exposure to the high-end marketplace in North America, and he provides the TOUR validation the company was previously lacking.
It’s still uncertain what clubs Rose will play specifically, or how many Honma clubs he will have in the bag come competition time, but a Honma representative has provided their “best guess.”
· Honma T//World 747 460 driver (9.5 degrees)
· Honma T//World 747 V iron (prototype) 4-6 iron
· Honma T//World 747 Rose Proto MB 7-9 irons
· Honma T//World 747 Rose proto wedges (47, 56, 60 degrees)
“We have not started to work with him yet on fairways,” according to the Honma representative.