For Phil, it's out with Titleist, in with Callaway
Less than a week after being released from the remaining 16 months on his five-year contract with The Acushnet Co., Phil Mickelson has signed a multiyear pact with Callaway Golf, according to the company.
Starting this week at the Bell Canadian Open, Mickelson will play a prototype of the company's ERC Fusion driver (that measures approximately 415cc and will be brought to market either later this year or in 2005), Big Bertha 3- and 4-woods and a prototype Callaway HX Tour ball (with a softer cover than the version currently sold at retail). The 2004 Masters champion also will have a Callaway bag and wear the company's glove and footwear. Additional signage will come via a Callaway logo on the side of Mickelson's visor and on his shirt sleeve.
Although he is not putting Callaway irons, wedges or an Odyssey putter in play this week, the 23-time PGA Tour winner will work closely with Callaway club designer Roger Cleveland on those clubs during the remainder of the season, said the company. At No. 4 in the World Ranking, Mickelson is by far the highest-ranked Callaway staff player (Charles Howell III is next at No. 38) and is the company's first top-10 player since Colin Montgomerie. And Mickelson will be compensated as such.
Although Callaway would not disclose terms of the deal (except to acknowledge it was a "long-term contract"), industry sources said the deal is for more than five years and is in the $7 million- to $10 million-a-year range. Mickelson also is believed to have opportunities to pad that figure through bonuses and stock in the company.
"This has been a wonderful year for me," said Mickelson in a prepared statement. "The two areas I have stressed this year have been keeping the ball in play and optimizing distance control from 150 yards in. To further my progress in these areas and to help me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming the No. 1 player in the world, I felt it was necessary to switch to this exciting new driver and golf ball."
Mickelson, who leads the tour in scoring average, quickly embraced his new company. He announced his signing in an e-mail sent this afternoon to all Callaway employees and will attend the grand opening of Callaway's Canadian headquarters Tuesday in Concord, Ontario.
"Phil Mickelson is a world-class player in every respect," said Bill Baker, chairman and CEO of Callaway. "He has remarkable personal appeal that attracts a huge fan base to our sport. We think he is going to be a tremendous representative of the Callaway Golf family of brands and we could not be happier to have him."
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