Turning Pro And Landing Endorsements - Which Road To Take? (Part 1)
Part 1 - With the influx of young, talented professional golfers making their way on to the LPGA Tour, it’s clear that many of them have opted to drop out of college and turn pro early. While they are following in the footsteps of numerous players who left school before graduating and went on to have lucrative careers as Touring Pros, there’s more than one road to success that sponsors (and LPGA sponsors looking to expand their presence with golf fans) may consider when recruiting players to represent their brands.
This is the first of four blog posts following four players who took different paths to the LPGA Tour.
Play collegiate golf and graduate from college before going on the Tour
A “text book” example is Stacy Lewis who played collegiate golf at the University of Arkansas, earned degrees in both accounting and finance, finished 1st at Q-School and won a major championship (Kraft-Nabisco) on the LPGA Tour last year. And she did it all after recovering from serious back surgery to correct the curvature of her spine which was caused by scoliosis.
Stacy’s record of accomplishment was very appealing to KPMG, a leading audit, tax and advisory firm. KPMG recently signed Stacy to a sponsorship deal that teams her with Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson (also a college grad who earned a degree in psychology from Arizona State University) as one of their brand ambassadors.
Stacy now wears the KPMG logo on her golf shirt and will participate in corporate events. KPMG commercials featuring Stacy started airing during the telecast of last week’s Kraft-Nabisco Championship on the Golf Channel. (Stacy fired a final round 66 to finish in a tie for fourth at this year’s tournament.)
In a recent New York Times article, John Veihmeyer, KPMG’s chairman and ceo, stated that “education was a critical asset for women climbing the corporate ladder, which made Lewis’s background a plus. “
"At a time when we are continuing to invest in our women as a firm and demonstrate to our women that there is no limit to where they can go within KPMG, it sends a very strong and powerful message to forge a relationship like this with Stacy,” Veihmeyer said.
He added, “Stacy will help us both externally in the marketplace as well as internally with our continuing large emerging pool of women who are really becoming leaders in KPMG.”
A player with a college degree is a marketable asset which appeals to a select group of sponsors.
Tying the player’s marketing deal to the sponsor’s workforce initiatives is a growing trend.
Update (2013): Congratulations to Stacy Lewis and her swing instructor, Joe Hallett, on Stacy being named the 2012 Rolex LPGA Tour Player of the Year.
Update (2013): Congratulations to Stacy Lewis and her swing instructor, Jow Hallett, on Stacy winning the 2013 RR Donnelley Founder's Cup and as a result, surpassing Yani Tseng to become the #1 player in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.
Our colleague, Bill Colvin, Colvin Sports Network, is constantly working with his corporate clients and their Golf Ambassadors to help them get the most from their professional golfer sponsorships. You can reach Bill directly by phone: 216-272-7779, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow him on twitter: billcolvin.
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