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PGA Tour Moves to Protect Players From ‘Ambush Marketing’

  • The Tour is changing its player endorsement policy.
  • The goal is to stop competing sponsors from getting “free ride.”
PGA Tour making changes.
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour is making a pivotal change to its “player endorsement policy” this season to protect itself and its players from ambush marketing.

With the PGA Tour entering the second year of corporate combat against rival LIV Golf, it wants to ensure sponsors from competing tours don’t get a “free ride,” according to golf law correspondent John Nucci.

Under the heading “Competing Tours,” the new regulation warns: “In order to protect the financial interest of the membership as a whole, and so as not to allow others to freeride on the PGA Tour’s platform, no players may display on his bag, person or otherwise the marks or indicia of any entity or brand that operates, sanctions, sponsors, funds and/or co-sanctions unauthorized tournaments or teams participating in unauthorized tournaments without prior written permission of the PGA Tour.”

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Many of LIV’s biggest stars have lost lucrative corporate endorsements after jumping to the Saudi-backed golf circuit.

They include Phil Mickelson (KPMG, Heineken, and Workday), Dustin Johnson (Royal Bank of Canada), Bryson DeChambeau (Rocket Mortgage), and Lee Westwood (UPS).  

In February, LIV announced its first corporate sponsors at its season-opening tournament in Mexico.

Commerce company EasyPost was announced as a global partner of the rebel golf league. The company also sponsors LIV Star Patrick Reed.

The upstart LIV operated without any formal sponsors in 2022 while spending an eye-popping $784 million to challenge the established PGA Tour. 

The PGA Tour declined to comment on this story. LIV reps could not be reached.