World-champion swimmer Michael Phelps, one of the most accomplished and decorated athletes in all of sports history with more than 70 medals in international competition, has signed an agreement with PING to play a full set of its custom-fit clubs as he focuses his athletic efforts here forward on the game of golf. Phelps will make his official PINGster debut this week playing in the Pro-Am at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, where he’ll be paired with fellow PING stud Bubba Watson.
Phelps, he of the aviator sunglasses and the on-camera 153-foot made putt, is the subject of this year’s “The Haney Project” on Golf Channel, which debuts on Feb 25th. Phelps has been quoted as saying, “I know how difficult the game of golf is, but I’m really serious about getting better and the experts at PING have already helped me a lot….they also gave me some sweet aviator sunglasses to go along with my new clubs.” Acutally, the latter half of that last quote is false, but he’s made it no secret that he’s going to be spending a lot of time on the links.
With Phelps’ 6’4” height, long arms and big hands, the technicians at PING built his G25 irons one inch over standard length, three degrees upright and with grips + 1/32-inch over standard. Also, to patriot-tize his new sticks, the company also added some gold, red, white and blue accents. In addition to the G25 irons, Phelps will play the new G25 driver, fairway woods and hybrids. He will also play the new Tour Gorge Groove wedges and roll his rock with the Scottsdale TR (True Roll) putter.
Alice Cooper started the buzz of non-professional golfer celebrities signing with equipment companies years ago when he inked a lifetime deal with Callaway. Justin Timberlake and other notables have also followed suit. With all of the press that Phelps draws for his accomplishments in the pool and his appearances off of it, plus with the guaranteed airtime during the Haney Project on Golf Channel, even though this seems a little un-PING-like to sponsor a celebrity, this is a very solid move by PING.