Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ryan Moore, the golfer who left $300,000 on the table

What would it take for you to wear top-tier golf clothing and play with top-of-the-line equipment? Would you don somebody's logo if they gave you a few free shirts? How about if they offered you, oh, three hundred grand?

If it was me, I'd've sold out at the free shirts. But Ryan Moore, winner of this past weekend's Wyndham Championship? He goes logoless to every match, preferring to wear his own gear. It's a mix-and-match collection of various brands, all of which Moore bought himself. As notes, here's what he's leaving on the table each year, broken down by equipment:

Hat: $200,000
Chest logo: $50,000
Golf bag: $50,000

Ouch. That's a lot to stand on principle, but that's exactly what Moore is doing. As he said in January, this isn't about some anti-sponsorship tilt, it's about focusing on golf itself: "I pick a club because I want to play, not because I have to make it work. To me, there is a lot of comfort and a lot of confidence in that," Moore said. "Everything you see me wearing, I paid for."

Well, maybe it's a little anti-sponsorship: "He doesn't want to be a billboard," Moore's brother/manager Jeremy told MSNBC's Darren Rovell. "He doesn't want to look like a NASCAR driver with logos everywhere. Ryan is a unique person and he wants to do his own thing."

Rovell summed up a lot of people's confusion: "The sports marketing world is not used to this -- someone who is seemingly untouchable because they are almost not part of the capitalistic society. The only parallel I can think of in the golf world is the Masters, where Augusta National doesn't care about making the most money they can make."

Somebody who's into golf rather than the money. First question: will wonders never cease? Second question: would you do it?

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