The New Year means the usual musical chairs for PGA Tour players switching equipment loyalties. Defending U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell, ranked No. 5 in the world going into this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, is the highest profile player to switch for this year. McDowell is now playing Cleveland/Srixon equipment after spending the past few years as a Callaway Golf man. McDowell’s new deal is worth a reported $3 million per year.
“I played Cleveland stuff in college. My Callaway contract was up, and you know, it just so happened that I just happened to get in contact with a guy at Cleveland/Srixon,’’ McDowell said. “I’ve had a great few years with Callaway; they have been great with me. I’ve had a great relationship with them and I’ve maintained a great relationship with them going forward. But sometimes things come to end. I feel really good about the start of a new era with some fresh energy coming at me from some new guys.’’
McDowell is playing Srixon irons, Cleveland wedges and a Srixon ball.
“And the golf ball is probably one of the things that attracted me most; the Srixon ball is pretty impressive,’’ McDowell said. “I was messing around with it at the end of last season and I realized I felt like it was a golf ball I could get to the next level with.
“Cleveland is a company with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and a company that will have me as one of their top players,” explained the Portrush native. “They’re allowing me to be a big part of their research and club development going forward. It’s got a lot of positives. I’m sure people are scratching their head but like I say, things change and I always like to have some good energy coming up.’’
The $3 million doesn’t hurt, either.