January 02, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
- Troy Merritt was spotted wearing a Titleist hat instead of a Wilson hat during a practice round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PGA TOUR players inking new equipment deals for the New Year is nothing new, but 2019 is rumored to have a lot of movement among some big name players.
In 2018, equipment free agents prospered. Will some of those free agents sign staff deals this year? Or, will those formerly with staff deals become free agents in 2019? In this story, we keep track of all of the equipment rumors and the official deals that are confirmed.
Justin Rose signs multi-year deal with Honma
After 20 years with TaylorMade, world No. 2 Justin Rose has signed an equipment deal with Honma. Will he be the only player making the move to Honma? Industry developments suggest otherwise.
Kevin Na, previously an equipment free agent, signs with Callaway
Na, formerly a Titleist staffer but spent 2018 as an equipment free agent, confirmed that he signed with Callaway. This should come as no surprise, since Na was playing mostly Callaway equipment by the end of 2018.
Gary Woodland to Wilson
Stewart Cink to Ping
We are excited to announce that @StewartCink, a major champion and five-time winner on the @PGATour is making his debut as a PING Pro this week at the @SonyOpenHawaii. Welcome to #TeamPING! #PlayYourBest pic.twitter.com/n9aiJnoSX3— PING GOLF (@PingTour) January 9, 2019
Woodland put Wilson Staff prototype blades in play in 2018 and has now officially signed a multi-year, 10-club deal with the equipment company. According to Wilson, he has incentives to play more clubs, including the “Driver vs. Driver 2” Cortex driver.
A staff hat or a company’s golf clubs in the bag do not mean that player has inked a deal with a company. On the flip side, it could foreshadow a player’s intentions. A few developments to be aware of:
Justin Rose’s confirmation on Jan. 1 adds to the chatter that Honma may sign a number of big-name players. Since Nike exited the hard goods industry, Paul Casey has been using Mizuno irons. But during a practice round at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, Casey was spotted using a Honma Tour World TW-U iron.
The long-time Bridgestone staff player is no longer listed on the “Tour Team” section of a company’s website. No official word on his potential free-agency status.
Merritt was spotted wearing a Titleist hat instead of a Wilson hat this week at Kapalua.
Francesco Molinari to Callaway
Francesco Molinari -- an equipment free agent in 2018 who used TaylorMade irons and a Bettinardi BBZero putter -- was spotted with Callaway Apex MB irons and an Odyssey Toulon putter at the 2019 Sentry TOC. As a reminder, the Toulon company exists under the Callaway umbrella.