It’s post #360, meaning if blog posts were degrees, we’d have come full circle.
On that note, at last, Ricky Fowler has a won to compliment his bevy of endorsements. In truth, I’m being harsh when I say he “finally” won; he’s only been on tour a couple years. Some players never win on tour, but then those players rarely get the type of notoriety Fowler had before he won.
Take D.A. Points, whom Fowler beat (along with World #1 Rory McIlroy) in a playoff to win the Wells Fargo Championship. He has one career win on tour, which came in 2011, and how many endorsements did he have?
The popularity of Fowler, often referred to as a “fan favorite,” has mostly been based on his looks and his particular look – an “edgy” and “hip” persona that includes baggy, bright-colored clothing and a crookedly-worn cap. Today, that’s not just a look, it’s a look of victory.
No doubt looks plays a role even in the men’s game when it comes to endorsements. Look no further than Camillo Villegas as an example (he does have a couple nice FedEx Cup event wins to back the endorsements).
I wonder if, in England, Robert Rock gets more endorsements than other contemporaries based on his movie star look. Rock is one of the very few players left in the game who don’t wear caps – which not only offer sun protection but, more importantly, the real estate on which to plaster 2 or 3 endorsements. It’s got to be Rock’s locks that preclude him from sporting the cap. There must’ve been a concerted calculation that determined that he stood to make more in endorsements by not wearing the hat and showing off the wavy hair than he would by wearing a hat that would directly promote brand names yet cover up the handsome hair.
Meanwhile, in America, Fowler not only sports the Puma cap (there was a time when I first noticed Puma’s resurgence and asked someone wearing it if he was a Detroit Lions fan), he slightly twists the cap to make it more young and brazen. Whatever, I respect individuality and its various expressions.
Speaking of American golf and hats, the last US PGA tour player I can recall who didn’t wear a cap was Ted Tryba – and sure enough, he, like Rock, had a signature hairstyle to showcase. Good stuff.
Now, in a related story, I have recently noted that Natalie Gulbis, whom long ago I dubbed “The Kournikova of golf” due to her plethora of endorsements (also based on looks) and corresponding shortage of tour wins, has been appearing on first pages of leaderboards this season. So I’m encouraged by this development, so to speak, as well.
In fact, Gulbis made a nice Sunday run to the first page of the leaderboard of the Kraft Nabisco in March. Soon after I saw her on the first page of another event, so the Nabisco was no fluke.
It’s nice to see the records of Gulbis and Fowler – who just before his win on Sunday I had dubbed “The Gulbis of men’s golf” (or, by default, “The Kournikova of men’s golf”) – at least somewhat validate the looks-based endorsements they’d previously garnered. As a result of Sunday’s impressive win (he’d had a close 2nd or two before), I will no longer refer to him by this moniker.
I’m sure he’s so relieved.
As for Gulbis, well, hey, there doesn’t have to be a Kournikova of golf, so I hope she sheds that label (so she won’t have to shed her clothes to make money) with which I’ve saddled her soon.