News & ToursFebruary 5, 2009

Will shill for food

The economy has many golfers scrambling for endorsement dollars these days.

Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press has this story on Rich Beem's efforts to drum up endorsement support by tapping into relationships he's developed through golf. On his hat, for instance, is Guggenheim Properties, while his sleeve carries an endorsement for Nelson Financial Group, each based on a relationship Beem developed with company executives.

Then there is Padraig Harrington, who chose the worst time to attempt to cash in on winning back-to-back major championships. His hat now has the initials FTI, which should not be confused with Callaway Golf's FT-I driver (Harrington is a Wilson man).

"It's Financial Technical Investigation, mergers and acquisitions, financial investigations," Harrington explained on Wednesday. "They're closing out Enron, they're closing out the derivative positions for Lehman Brothers. They're actually on both sides. They're involved in, I think, most of the mergers over $50 million in the last four or five years, so mergers and acquisitions are good for them. They do investigation for the BALCO case and things like that. They do corporate PR, economic advice to governments, financial investigation for mergers and acquisitions, and also for insolvencies and liquidations."

If it seems golf is an odd fit for FTI, it isn't the first time. It brings to mind the '60s, when Amana was ubiquitous on tour pros' hats.

-- John Strege

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