He may have finished in the top 10 of The Masters Tournament the past three years and ended the 2020 season PGA Tour season sitting second to Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking, but John Rahm isn’t afraid to make a gutsy move as he guns for No. 1.
The 26-year-old Spaniard made a big offseason change. It was likely driven in part by money, but one can hardly argue with the results so far.
Jon Rahm has switched to Callaway clubs
As the first stop on the PGA Tour following the end-of-year holidays, the Sentry Tournament of Champions is golf’s version of a runway fashion show. Aside from soaking up the Hawaiian sun, a number of competitors are there to tout the new equipment in their bags and show off the latest in apparel from their sponsors.
It’s the change in clubs and balls that always attracts the attention of weekend golfers and the media. When a golfer moves from one manufacturer to another, money is a factor. When the golfer in question is Jon Rahm, ranked second in the world, the amount likely is substantial.
So, the announcement on Jan. 4, 2021, that Rahm had switched from TaylorMade to Callaway Golf clubs as part of a multi-year agreement shook things up. Though he has yet to finish higher than third in a major, Rahm has five victories on the PGA Tour and six on the European Tour since 2017. He has won $21 million in his four full PGA seasons.
The Callaway agreement also calls for Rahm to endorse apparel from the company’s TravisMathew subsidiary.
What’s in his golf bag?
Luring Jon Rahm from TaylorMade is a coup for Callaway Golf, and Golf Digest points out that it’s a savvy business move. With longtime endorser Phil Mickelson having turned 50 years old last year, the marketers know that they face the risk of diminishing returns from the world’s best-know left-handed golfer. With American Xander Schauffele already in the fold, Rahm gives Callaway big names from either side of the Atlantic Ocean who should be around for a long time.
Rahm played his college golf at Arizona State, where he won 11 tournaments under the supervision of coach Tim Mickelson, who is Phil’s brother. While there, Rahm was playing with Callaway clubs.
Still, manufacturers tweak clubs and balls on a regular basis. So, what felt good to golfers five years ago might not even be sold anymore.
PGATour.com took a look inside Rahm’s golf bag this week ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii. Other than hanging on to his TaylorMade Spider X putter, everything is from Callaway, beginning with the Proto Triple Diamond driver down to UT Proto irons. He’s also playing the Callaway CSX ball.
Jon Rahm says he shot a 59 his first time out with Callaway clubs and balls
Based on his previous PGA Tour winnings and other endorsements, money wouldn’t have swayed Jon Rahm to leave TaylorMade if he wasn’t satisfied with the Callaway Golf equipment. Between his familiarity with the company’s products from his college days and time off during the pandemic in 2020 to test, he had plenty of time to get comfortable before going public with the news.
Rahm also will wear a Callaway logo hat, and his caddie will tote a bag promoting the brand.
As for questions about whether the switchover is going smoothly on the course, Rahm said he got an answer at the Silverleaf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. That’s a private course playing 7,322 yards from silver tees with a 74.7 rating.
“I’m so happy to be joining Callaway, and I can’t wait to start the year,” Rahm said in a statement. “The equipment is already performing well for me, and in my first round with the new setup, I shot a course-record 59 at Silverleaf. I have confidence in my new Callaway clubs — and especially the golf ball, which has really impressed me during the testing process.”