Forgive me for not seeing Beth Ann Nichols' Golfweek story from two weeks ago, but Bellerive had that kind of transitory effect. Anyway, we discussed on the latest State of The Game the absurdity of this story. Given the amount of free stuff given to young male golfers--young being 14 and up--the notion that a company said no to a future Hall of Famer, all-time great and player who actually might influence buying habits, I'm not sure if there is any way to defend the actions of Taylor Made as they relate to Inbee Park.
Here is Nichols' setup, though there is much more in the piece about issues LPGA players face in getting equipment as the free stuff flows on the male amateur and pro side of the sport:
Two months ago, when Inbee Park was No. 1, caddie Brad Beecher reached out to a TaylorMade rep on behalf of Park to get replacements for the 3-wood, 5-wood and two Rescue clubs she had in her bag. Park is a Srixon staff player but is only required to have nine Srixon clubs in the bag. For more than five years she has played with four TaylorMade woods. That timespan includes six of her seven majors, an Olympic gold medal and more than 100 weeks as the No. 1 player in the world.
Park received the same response as several other LPGAers: A new company policy stipulates that players must use a TaylorMade driver to get free product.
Anyone who has seen Park play in person is immediately struck by how well she plays her fairway woods to make up for less length off the tee. Next, you are struck by how beloved she is with Korean golf fans. One might think this would lead to companies lining up to stock her locker with fairway woods. All in hopes of being associated with an all time great and the strongest part of her game, driver counts be damned.
Apparently not for all. Taylor Made's response:
When asked to comment on their policy regarding Park, a TaylorMade representative said, “We don’t share information around our relationships with athletes (contracted or non-contracted) due to confidentiality reasons.”
It's a rare misstep from a player-friendly company and one that sadly screams of short-sightedness at best, whiffs of sexism at the very least.