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All of the 2018 sponsor switches and speculation in one place (updated 1/12)

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When the ball drops in Times Square marking a new year, that means one thing in the golf world: sponsor switches. Every year there are a number of players who enter into new contracts, switch equipment sponsors and wear different apparel/footwear. So far in 2018, it seems there is even more shuffling than usual.

To make it easier on everyone, we’re collecting all of the sponsor switches in one article, which we will continue to update as announcements get made and speculation swirls.

Here are the sponsor switches that we’ve confirmed, and the ones that the rumor mill are churning out.

Confirmed

Updated: 1/12/18 at 10:45 a.m.

Via Twitter, JJ Henry has signed an endorsement deal with Ben Hogan Golf and will play their irons, and Stewart Cink will be wearing Ben Hogan Performance Apparel.

Updated: 1/10/18 at 8 p.m.

Updated 1/8/18 at 3:30 p.m.

Anirban Lahiri has officially signed with Callaway, and he will play Callaway metalwoods, irons, wedges, an Odyssey putter and a Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball.

Updated 1/5/18 at 2:00 p.m.

Brian Harman is officially on staff with Titleist. He will play a a bag full of Titleist equipment and use a Pro V1 golf ball.

Sergio Garcia signs a deal with Callaway after being with TaylorMade for 15 years, and he signs an apparel/footwear contract with adidas Golf.

Xander Schauffele signs with Callaway after being with TaylorMade throughout his short professional career, and he also signs an apparel/footwear deal with adidas Golf.

Jason Dufner is no longer in a golf-club contract with Titleist. We spotted him using a TaylorMade M4 driver in Hawaii, but he will continue using a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball.

LAHAINA, HI – JANUARY 03: Hudosn Swafford of the United States plays a shot during the pro-am tournament prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2018 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hudson Swafford signs an equipment deal with Callaway after being with Bridgestone.

Si Woo Kim signs an equipment contract with Callaway, and a footwear-only deal with Nike Golf.

Former long-drive Champion and Web.com Tour player Jamie Sadlowski signs with Cleveland. Here are his driver specs…

Patrick Reed inks an apparel/footwear deal with Nike Golf. Callaway has also confirmed that he is “no longer officially with Callaway.”

Other new Nike apparel/footwear players include Chris Wood, Cameron Champ and Jimmy Stanger. Alex Noren will now be a head-to-toe Nike staffer, while Lee Westwood will be footwear only.

Speculation

LAHAINA, HI – JANUARY 03: Grayson Murray of the United States plays a shot during the pro-am tournament prior to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 3, 2018 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Grayson Murray to Cleveland-Srixon? Based on his Srixon hat and Cleveland wedge in the photo above, it’s a distinct possibility.

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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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News

Stewart Cink pens multi-year deal with Ping

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Ping Golf has announced that six-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stewart Cink, has signed a multi-year deal with the company.

The deal will see the American play a minimum of 11 Ping clubs, as he looks to end an almost decade long winless streak on the PGA Tour. Cink had previously been an equipment-free agent (having been a Nike man prior to that) although he had been using Ping clubs for the majority of the last season.

Speaking on the addition of Stewart Cink to Team Ping, company president John K. Solheim stated

“Stewart has a long track record of success and overall consistency, evidenced by his wins, top 10s in majors, and the fact that he has competed on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and in four Presidents Cups.

“He has instant credibility, and we know him well because he has played Ping irons for many years. Our tour staff has been impressed by his professionalism and his knowledge of equipment. We’re delighted to be associated with Stewart.”

Cink will make his first start as a Ping staff player at this week’s Sony Open. According to the company, the 2009 Open Championship winner is expected to have Ping’s G400 LST driver, G400 fairways woods, i25 irons and Sigma 2 Arna putter in the bag this week at Waialae Country Club.

No details of the financial terms of the arrangement have been disclosed.

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Equipment

Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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19th Hole

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