Wednesday
Jan192011

On The Green: Can Jim Furyk Ace Golf's Marketing Void Left By Tiger Woods?

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

Jim Furyk is building his marketing portfolio, having already added three new sponsors in 2011.January 19, 2011: With Tiger Woods' star still dim in the marketing sky, companies are looking elsewhere to boost their golf-related alliances in  order to reach the lucrative golf category consumer. Westin Hotels & Resorts has found a strong option, signing a deal with Jim Furyk, winner of the 2010 FedEx Cup and 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Financial terms were not disclosed. This is Furyk's third new deal of the year, joining Sungard IT services and software firm and RBC Bank.

According to Westin, a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Furyk will appear in marketing campaigns, wear the Westin logo on his hat at the more than 20 events and will make appearances at resort locations throughout the year on behalf of Westin and the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.

Furyk makes about $11-$13 million in endorsements, according to industry analysts, which also include TaylorMade-adidas, Diageo's Johnnie Walker and Marquis Jets.

The deal with Furyk also intensifies the battle for golf consumer dollars among hotel firms. Rival  InterContinental Hotels Group recently signed a five-year deal making it an official partner of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour in the hotel and resort category.

The sponsorship of Furyk is in line with Westin and SPG's sponsorship of the 2010 U.S. Open tennis tournament and US Open Live, where fans could watch live streaming of matches in progress at the U.S. Open Web site.

“Our sponsorship of championship golfer Jim Furyk highlights our emphasis on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle in a way that will resonate with Westin loyalists and attract new travelers and golf enthusiasts to the brand,” Brian Povinelli, vp-brand management, North America, for Westin Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement. “A long-time fan of Westin, Furyk credits the brand’s wellness programming with helping him perform at his best. We’re thrilled to sponsor him as he kicks off a new year of world-class golf tournaments and ensure he is prepared to excel on the course when staying in our hotels.”

Furyk is currently ranked No. 5 in the world and No. 3 among U.S. golfers. He has 16 career wins on the PGA Tour and 45 top ten finishes since 2006.

According to Furyk, “I am excited to become part of the Westin family and am truly a long-time fan of the brand. I've stayed at Westin hotels all over the world and I credit the brand’s 'Heavenly Bed' and 'Heavenly Shower' with helping me perform at my absolute best while on the road."

Although he still is expected to earn about $60 million in endorsements this year, Woods has lost more than $30 million in deals over the past two years, since his one-car accident during Thanksgiving Day weekend 2008 opened his private life to public scrutiny. Among the companies that have ended their alliances with Woods are PepsiCo's Gatorade, Proctor & Gamble's Gillette, AT&T and Accenture. Golf icon Phil Mickelson is second behind Woods among all athletes with an estimated $52 million in endorsement deals.

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