Adidas has sold its golf brands TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth to New York City-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners for $425 million. The athletic-apparel giant had been actively seeking a buyer for its golf brands since this time May 2016.
The news was announced in a press release, which stated that the sale will be “half … paid in cash with the remainder in a combination of secured note and contingent considerations.” Completion of the transaction is expected later this year.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new era for TaylorMade, and our entire management team is excited to partner with KPS in this next phase of our growth and continued development of our brands, business and people,” said David Abeles, Chief Executive Officer of TaylorMade. “The TaylorMade team is deeply committed to making the most technically advanced performance-driven golf equipment, and this mission will never change. Given their strategic vision, operational resources and significant access to capital, KPS is the ideal partner to help TaylorMade build upon its strong momentum.”
KPS is a private equity firm headquartered in New York City. The company says it “generates investment returns by structurally improving the strategic position, competitiveness and profitability of its portfolio companies, rather than primarily relying on financial leverage.” It currently manages a family of investment funds worth approximately $5.3 billion.
TaylorMade’s annual sales reached a peak of $1.7 billion in 2013, but the sales have slumped in recent years. An article published by the New York Post in February stated that TaylorMade annual sales had slipped to less than $500 million and that the Carlsbad California-based company was losing between $75-100 million each year.
“TaylorMade is one of the preeminent golf equipment brands worldwide, with leading-edge products that consistently provide consumers a distinct performance advantage over the competition,” said David Shapiro, a Managing Partner of KPS. “We look forward to working with Chief Executive Officer David Abeles, his management team and all TaylorMade employees around the world to build on this great platform by driving growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions. The combination of this iconic brand and KPS’ track record of working constructively with talented management teams to make businesses better will provide the ideal foundation for TaylorMade’s future growth.”
While TaylorMade’s sales have slowed, its presence on the PGA Tour has not. Yesterday, the company announced that it had signed Rory McIlroy to deal to use its golf clubs and golf ball. It now has endorsement deals with the top-3 golfers in the world: Dustin Johnson (No. 1), McIlroy (No. 2) and Jason Day (No. 3).
In January, TaylorMade also signed 14-time major champion Tiger Woods to an endorsement deal. The company also has a deal with one of the hottest young golfers on the PGA Tour, 22-year-old John Rahm.
Adidas said last year that it planned to continue to produce golf shoes and apparel even after the sale of TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth, and the press release mentioned no change in Adidas’ strategy.
Zurich Classic Truck Report: Hovland testing Ping i59 Prototype irons, Xander’s Epic Speed Triple Diamond 5W
What testing is done and what equipment adjustments are made during a team event on the PGA Tour? Well, in the long view, what we’ll see on the range at the Zurich Classic likely isn’t that much different than the goings-on of a standard week on the PGA Tour. But this week in New Orleans, our sources indicate there’s a ton of shaft testing taking place as well as some significant toolbox adjustment.
What is else is happening on the equipment front in the Big Easy? Open the Tour Truck Report folder to find out.
We spotted Viktor Hovland with prototype i59 Ping irons. While Ping is mum on the details of the new line, Ryan Barath offered some speculation here.
Kris Ventura (non-staff) is putting an i210/Blueprint combo set in play.
Scottie Scheffler (non-staff), who has been in the Ping G400 LST, is 50-50 on playing G425 this week, according to a source.
Xander Schauffele is testing a prototype Epic Speed Triple Diamond fairway wood. Resident equipment expert Ryan Barath sees this as a possible smaller, deeper-faced, Sub Zero-esque Epic Speed variety, as he wrote here. Xander has his usual Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X (Black) shaft in the new tool.
Dylan Frittelli had an Epic Speed Max LS Triple Diamond built for testing with a 46-inch Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 60 TX shaft.
Mark Anderson tested a TSi2 15-degree fairway. Loved the easy launch, carry distance, and ball flight from both the turf and tee, according to a source.
Free-agent Jhonattan Vegas tested a TSi2 15-degree fairway.
TaylorMade is calling this “wedge week” and with that in mind, a number of staffers are using some very cool custom “RAW” staff bags, highlighting the unfinished wedge options across their line. Staffers will wear “RAW” hats as well, as showcased in the second photo below.
We still don’t have an official comment from PXG, the existence of “prototype” Gen4 0311 ST irons can’t be denied based on some more images we captured from the range this week.
Rocco Mediate was spotted with a DeChambeau-esque SIK putter and LA Golf Shaft combo.
Most interesting photos from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
This week, the PGA Tour is at the TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans—which is the one and only team event that takes place during the season. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers where the field of 160 (80 two-man teams) is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $7.4 million purse, with winning golfers each taking home just over $1 million dollars.
Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.
Rafa Campos loves contrast
Rafa’s irons and wedges couldn’t be more contrasting. A shiny set of Mizuno’s alongside some of the most perfectly patina’d raw Vokey SM8s you will ever see.
No mistake about who this putter belongs to
Doug Ghim has one heck of a really nice Scotty Cameron 009 – in fact it’s so nice the team at Scotty Cameron stamped it the same way I write my kid’s name into her shoes that she takes to daycare.
TaylorMade players getting a RAW deal this week
I kid. The only RAW deal going on is the fact that TaylorMade is calling this “wedge week” and with that in mind, a number of staffers are using some very cool custom staff bags.
You gotta test the product
Every week it seems like more and more players on the PGA Tour are using technology-packed putter shafts to help improve consistency. This week at the Zurich, we spotted a Scotty Cameron outfitted with an LA golf Shafts TPZ putter shaft and the tour rep was giving it a little test for feel.
Holmes is rolling with a Bettinardi
JB Holmes was spotted on the practice green as the TPC of Louisiana working on his putting with a Bettinardi mallet. Considering the event features an alternate shot format, it’s likely he was working on his pace. Nobody wants to leave their partner a long tester for par.
Something old and something new for Henrik
Henrik Stenson is mixing it up. He continues to use his tried and true Legacy black forged irons while also working with some of the newest putters from Odyssey like the below 2-ball Ten.
Kisner still working with an armlock
Although he was carrying both a conventional and armlock style putter this week, it looks like Kisner is starting to fully commit to the popular putting technique.
Hovland’s aim is on point
Little slopes make a big difference, which is why Viktor Hovland was seen working hard on his Aim-point technique using an around-the-hole drill and a digital level.
Woody Austin sure knows how to strike it
Although it has been years since he was a regular on the PGA Tour, Woody Austin still knows how to strike it! Just look at the wear pattern on his irons, and more specifically, his wedges.
Charl is looking for a flatstick
“Listen I got to go, I’m working on my putting”
Mr. Schwartzel sure knows how to swing a golf club, but on the greens is where he has recently struggled, and in New Orleans this week we spotted him testing a number of putters on the practice green.
We should note, he still has some raw Nike wedges in the bag too.
Keegan is hard at work on the putting green
The 2011 PGA Champion was on the green as using a laser alignment for what looked to be a face contact and putting path drill.
Rocco’s looking SIK
Rocca Mediate absolutely loves to tinker, and it also looks like Mr. DeChambeau is rubbing off on him based on his putter choice this week. He was spotted working with a custom SIK putter fitted with an LA Golf Shafts graphite shaft.
New Ping irons for Hovland
Viktor Hovland is bringing “gear junkie” heat this week to New Orleans. We spotted the Ping staffer with new i59 irons, along with some Glide Pro wedges that we first spotted a couple of weeks ago in Austin at the WGC.
Pop it and arm lock it
We continue to see more and more pros working on an armlock putting technique—it is certainly something that is picking up steam on tour.
PXG 0311 Gen4 ST sticking around
Although we still don’t have an official comment from PXG, the existence of “prototype” Gen 0311 ST irons can’t be denied based on some more images we captured this week.
Great bags for great causes
Both Scott Stallings and Greg Chalmers are using their biggest billboards—their staff bags, to promote great causes on tour.
For Greg, that means Maximum Chances, an organization that helps children with autism and their family’s connect to resources including financial aid, and for Scott Stallings, it’s to share the “Kids play free” program which he helped to found with the Tennessee Golf Foundation.
Billy Horschel’s got a new long iron
We spotted a new Titleist 620 CB 3-iron in the bag of Billy Horschel this week, which means there is once again fewer players than ever still using a blade 3-iron on the PGA Tour. Are blade long irons close to extinction?
Interesting photos from the RBC Heritage – Part 3
The first round of the RBC Heritage gets underway today and with that, we have an unprecedented part 3 of our most interesting pictures from the event. As a refresher, the field of 134 is battleing on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.
In part one of this week’s “most interesting photos”, we covered putters, for part two we covered some of the action around the course, and for part 3 we have a little bit of both.
Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.
Snedeker with that “new driver” look
The 2012 FedEx Cup champ is quietly one of the biggest driver testers on tour, and he was looking thirsty at a couple of TaylorMade SIM2 drivers on the range. Also noted his Miura CB-301 irons.
Build your own training aid
Path board – check, digital level – check, alignment rod – check, extra club – check. Why spend all kinds of money when you can just build your own simple training aid?
Its armlock – but backward
Matt Kuchar brought the arm-lock style to the PGA Tour and it looks like he might be changing course again since he was spotted testing a “reverse” arm-lock Bettinardi on the practice green of Harbour Town links. This is a reverse style because the grip rests against the trailing arm versus the lead one.
Maybe graphite is the new steel
We’re not sure whose caddie this is, but the interesting thing in this photo is the graphite shaft in the putter. Although Bryson wasn’t the first, he certainly has opened the door for more players testing and putting ultra-stiff graphite shafts into their putters for stability.
Si Woo, and Charles Howell talking putters
Everyone knows Charles Howell loves to talk gear, and here he is chatting with Si Woo Kim about a couple of putters—just imagine the nerd level conversation being had.
Na continues to test the new Callaway Epic
Kevin Na is one of the last holdouts on tour with an original Epic driver in the bag, and again this week we spotted him testing one of the new Epic Speed drivers. Considering his chances this week based on the course length, it will be interesting to see if he officially made the switch.
Maverick’s unique Toulon
Maverick McNealy’s slant-neck San Diego has a very different shape from the retail version and looks to be both longer heel to toe and also shallower—it reminds this writer of the classic Ping Anser 4.
Davis Love III has a full bag of familiar sticks
Davis Love has won the RBC Heritage 5 times (yes, 5) and this past champion has a full bag of Titleist gear including 718 AP2s and SM8 Vokey wedges. You can get all his full WITB here: Davis Love III WITB RBC Heritage
Who has 2 thumbs and loves to test putter? Matt Wallace
Matt Wallace was working with a number of Toulon putters Tuesday, and although they all had something a little different to offer, the one thing that stayed the same is his preferred 2-Thumb grip.
The grind doesn’t stop for Furyk
Did you know Jim Furyk is 3rd all-time on the PGA Tour career money list with over 71 million buckeroos banked. Crazy right? So imagine the drive it takes to continue to work your butt off week in and week out on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour to find every edge.
Speaking of edge, Jim was seen on the range working with Callaway tour reps on a Callaway Epic Speed triple diamond to hopefully gain a few mph of ball speed. Gotta respect the grind.
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