Michael Kors enters golf with sponsorship of Masters champion Charl Schwartzel

Michael Kors is entering the golf world through a sponsorship of pro golfer, Charl Schwartzel, who will serve as the company's first brand ambassador in golf. Schwartzel will help expand the brand's sportswear category.


Charl Schwartzel for Michael Kors - Michael Kors

John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Michael Kors Holdings Limited, said Schwartzel "represents the timeless values as well as the traditions of the sport."

While Michael Kors is known for targeting the jet set lifestyle, it has not yet had a golf collection. Kors joins traditional athletics brands Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour on the course, as well as fashion rival Polo Ralph Lauren who dresses #4 ranked Justin Thomas.

Golf is heating up again for apparel marketing partnerships as Tiger Woods is poised for a major comeback in the Masters this week. At the peak of his career, Woods held $90 million in endorsement deals.

When Woods fell from grace due to back injury and highly publicized personal controversy, viewing figures for golf plummeted. The golf market shrunk so much that Nike stopped making clubs because the brand was no longer finding the sport to be profitable. All of Woods' sponsors at the time dropped him except for Nike, who continued a branded clothing line in his name.

Schwartzel is a 33-year-old South African pro golfer and Masters champion, and compared to Woods, he could be considered a low-risk profile athlete as a brand ambassador. Schwartzel has played professionally since turning 18 and participates in the European Tour and PGA Tours.

Currently, the Michael Kors sportswear category offers men's cotton and cotton blend t-shirts and polos as well as coats. The brand also offers puffer jackets for both men and women sold direct to consumer and through department stores including Nordstrom and Macy's.

Schwartzel said in a release that he will be developing Michael Kors sportswear, stating that he will "collaborate with the company on the development of their sportswear, providing input on performance features to be incorporated into the line”,  as well as wearing performance pieces while he competes. His involvement will help the label develop product to be worn both on and off the course.

The 2018 Masters tournament begins this Thursday in Augusta, Georgia. Schwartzel was a top 12 finisher from last year's Masters tournament but comes into this year's tournament ranked outside of the top ten players.

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