Un­der­cover Tour Pro

Un­der­cover Tour Pro

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents - WITH MAX ADLER

Why I de­cided to change my uni­form.

The smartest move I made last sea­son was drop­ping my cloth­ing deal. I was get­ting paid 15 grand a year to wear a par­tic­u­lar brand, and it wasn’t worth the ag­gra­va­tion. I’ve never been picky about clothes, but this stuff I gen­uinely didn’t care for. The col­ors were a bit elec­tric for my taste, and some­thing about the fit of the sleeves was off—tight in the armpits. I’d re­ceive a new box of 20 shirts and a dozen pairs of pants ev­ery few months, and with al­most ev­ery other ship­ment there was an is­sue. A logo would be mis-stitched or in the wrong spot, or some of the clothes were the wrong size. They’d prom­ise to fix it and de­liver a new batch to my ho­tel right away. Two tour­na­ments later, the box ar­rives . . . on a Fri­day.

A cloth­ing deal for a very top player could be a mil­lion or more, but un­less your name is Ja­son Day or Ser­gio Gar­cia, most of the cloth­ing-only deals are worth about the same, which is low five fig­ures. And un­like deals for clubs and balls, where you can un­lock bonuses with high fin­ishes and wins, the mar­ket­ing bud­gets of most smaller cloth­ing lines are fixed. Still, they’re not shy about ask­ing for mul­ti­ple days of your time, ei­ther to shoot ad­ver­tise­ments or do pro­mo­tional events with their clients. I get that it’s a tough busi­ness, but the ob­jec­tives of these com­pa­nies are some­times hard to dis­cern. Each is look­ing for a player whose im­age tells their brand’s “story,” what­ever that means. Un­der­stand­ably, I guess, a lot of cloth­ing com­pa­nies would rather have their guy look good and play bad than the other way around.

Af­ter taxes, that 15 grand be­comes more like nine, which isn’t a lot of cash to wear stuff that you’re not in love with. I spend just about my whole life in golf clothes, prob­a­bly more than triple the time any other ath­lete spends in his uni­form. It’s im­por­tant to feel good about what you’re wear­ing.

I know some play­ers who are in love with be­ing treated like a model. They get re­ally ex­cited when their new clothes ar­rive and ob­sess about what belt to pair with which out­fit. They’ll sit at their locker and have a 30-minute phone con­ver­sa­tion with their cloth­ing rep. Some guys will wear a shirt once and then give it away.

Then again, I know some guys who will go through 100 white shirts a year not be­cause they’re prima don­nas, but be­cause they sweat like pigs. You never know when you’re go­ing to catch fire and sud­denly get a lot of air time. Those are valu­able min­utes and sec­onds, and you can’t let down your spon­sors by look­ing scrubby. A loose thread or some sun­screen dis­col­oration on your col­lar looks bad in high-def.

Last sea­son, right be­fore the play­offs started, I sent an email to the head of a com­pany whose clothes I re­ally like. I asked him to send me some gear for the FedEx Cup and promised I would wear his line all of the next sea­son for free. I’m not ex­actly cut like Camilo Vil­le­gas, but I’ve won on the PGA Tour and I’m friendly and carry my­self with dig­nity. To get me for the cost of prod­uct was a good deal for him. Plus, he doesn’t have to go through my agent. He can just email me di­rectly about any­thing. So far it’s been seam­less.

And it’s a good deal for me. So what if I left 15 grand on the ta­ble? I can make that up feel­ing com­fort­able over one swing.

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