Mizuno has decided to take a new approach to how it works with tour pros, with a focus on product development and authentic player associations.
It’s fair to say that the Japanese brand doesn’t have the strongest presence on tour. It doesn’t have the star power or strength in depth of a TaylorMade, Titleist, or Callaway, etc.
What it does have, however, is a great line-up of products. From it revered irons, to great wedges and the newly introduced ST200 woods line, which is going down a storm, Mizuno is in as strong a position as ever when it comes to it club offerings.
The brand has decided to set out a new commitment to identify and grow talent, rather than bid for ready-made, established players with no prior Mizuno connections.
Mizuno is in a strong position to make changes – with its great products and four recent non-contracted Major wins for its JPX Tour irons and 12 iron wins in 2019 across the PGA, Korn Ferry and European Tour.
A number of up-and-coming, hungry new players have been recruited for 2020, with two, Bo Hoag (below) and Rhein Gibson, now plying their trade on the PGA Tour.
On the European Tour, Mizuno has recruited the talented Frenchman Adrien Saddier, young Englishman Scott Gregory (below) – winner of the 2016 Amateur Championship – and Tom Gandy.
All have two things in common: playing Mizuno equipment long before signing their official deals and putting Mizuno’s new ST200 drivers straight into the bag.
Mizuno’s metalwoods have long struggled to gain much traction on tour, but that now looks set to shift.
Jeremy Galbreth, Mizuno US Director of Golf, said, “Mizuno will now only sign players who want to work with us on product development and put more than just irons to the test.
He added: “Just two seasons ago, despite a surge in unpaid use of our irons, Mizuno had no drivers at all in play at the Sony Open. This week we had five drivers in play …which shows the progress we’re already making with this approach.”
Mizuno will also focus on providing elite amateurs a pathway to the professional game and, unlike in the past, maintaining ties once they’ve entered the pro ranks.
“We’re essentially going back to basics - providing evidence to the public that Mizuno equipment stacks up under intense pressure,” said Product Manager Chris Voshall,
He added: “When a Mizuno staff ambassador next wins on tour or turns up in the top 10, we’ll be able to say with absolute authenticity that our equipment had something to do with it.”