I am not running a golf apparel company. If I was, I would imagine I would hope to eventually grow to a place where I could afford to invest in a solid partnership with a professional golfer on the PGA tour. Initially, I might settle for just about anyone with a tour card. Someone that would not only increase exposure for my label, but who also appeared to be a good fit for the look I offered. If the guy ended up doing well and earning some TV coverage/media attention, well that would just be icing on the cake.
If you take a look at Canadian based golf apparel company Sligo Wear’s partnership with tour pro Graham DeLaet, it is as if they are yelling out “pick a frosting baby!” Sligo developed their fresh, bold brand in 2004. In 2012, the Saskatchewan born DeLaet came on board. Sligo gained a bright-eyed, young PGA tour pro from Canada (multiple wins on the Canadian Tour) whose personality instantly fit the collection. DeLaet and Sligo seem to fit like strawberry and banana. (Too much? Are you craving dessert yet?) If there was any doubt then of the value DeLaet would bring to Sligo Wear, there is certainly none now. DeLeat is currently ranked 24th in FedEx Cup season points and is first on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation. With five top 10 finishes in 20 events this season, DeLaet has certainly seen enough TV coverage to make an impact on Sligo’s brand exposure.
While chatting with DeLaet’s precious wife Ruby at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May of this year, she mentioned that she had heard one of the TV broadcasters say that Graham “looked like a cupcake” because of the “electric coral” Gerrard polo and “hyper teal” pants he was wearing that round. Her thoughts on his look that day? She loved it, in fact, she loves the fun, bold style of Sligo.
Let’s indulge in more of Ruby DeLaet’s thoughts on the partnership between Graham and Sligo Wear shall we? She has savvy insights, and you will see that the DeLaets are right on-point with their objectives in finding the right apparel sponsor for Graham’s career on the PGA Tour.
FT: Sligo has a huge personality. Do you feel Sligo’s personality matched well with Graham’s when this partnership formed or do you feel Graham has adapted to fit Sligo’s personality?
RD: I truly feel that it was a “match made in heaven” when Graham and Sligo came together. I believe that Sligo, being a Canadian company, made for an automatic sponsorship bond. The personality of Sligo and Graham matched from the beginning. I may be biased, well obviously I am, but I look at Graham, who takes risks on the course with his golf game, and see that he also takes risks with his apparel choices in wearing Sligo. He takes risks with some crazy plaid pants and thankfully it all pays off! Plus, Sligo’s style is so vibrant and bright, without being gaudy. Graham has a very positive attitude and he’s always trying to have fun out on the course. Sligo is a perfect compliment to that. I mean, who doesn’t like cupcakes?!
FT: Has Graham always worn bold colors and patterns?
RD: Not really. He’s your typical t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. Before Sligo, he wore J.Lindeberg. They had nice clothing; not boring, but nothing too crazy. When we got his first Sligo shipment, we were like “holy crap!” “How do we know what goes with what??!!” Since then, Graham has learned how to piece items together and he’s really been enjoying dressing “out of the box.” It’s fun when people know him as “Mr. Fancy Pants”. Even other tour wives ask me what Graham has on for the day, when I see them in Family Dining each week.
FT: Any thoughts on how the partnership came about, or why you guys knew it would be a good fit?
RD: When it came time to pick a new clothing sponsor, we worked with our agent to decide what type of brand would best represent Graham as a player, as well as, set him apart from other golfers on the tour. At the end of the day, it’s a lot about marketing. We lucked out that Sligo does an amazing job supporting their tour staff and providing what they need. As you may already know, Brian Gay was Sligo’s first big name team member. The Gay’s provided a lot of input when the company was just getting started. So when Sligo decided that they wanted to sign Graham, they went to Brian and Kimberly Gay first, and discussed it with them. To me, that shows character and respect toward their golfers.
FT: What does Graham like about wearing Sligo? What do you like about this brand for Graham?
RD: The fit of the clothing and quality are a big part of why Graham enjoys wearing Sligo. It’s a huge bonus that Graham doesn’t have to alter any of the items. He can take them right out of the package to wear right away. He and I both really enjoy all the fun, crazy colors and patterns and pairing them together. He’s really started to get noticed for what he wears, which helps in his branding. Thankfully, we have received a lot of positive feedback. Although, I do hear some funny comments from spectators. I remember an older gentleman saying “he needs to make this putt so he can afford to buy new pants”. Regardless, of whether people like the bold style or not, they are talking about it, and that’s all you can ask for.
FT: What is your favorite Sligo 13A combo Graham has worn this season?
RD: I am a huge fan of the Yorkville Brooklyn Blue Shirt paired with white pants. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of all the plaid, I just love how the checkered shirt is so different. It doesn’t even look like a golf shirt.
FT: Why should the average weekend golfer wear Sligo Wear?
RD: Because above average clothing gives you an above average golf game. You will look so awesome no one will pay attention to your slice!