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Less Is More For Moore, But For How Long?

Ryan Moore
AP
Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore was one of the most heralded golfers in amateur history, so when he turned pro in 2005, all the major companies were after him. By all accounts, Moore cashed in pretty nicely with deals from Oakley and Ping, but the two got a discount because they were the brands that Moore felt most comfortable with.

Not going with a company that would give him the most money was certainly not the way most have gone, and neither was his next step. After last season, Moore decided to lose the sponsor logos altogether and not sign a single deal. The move went largely unnoticed since he missed the cut in about half the tournaments he played in.

So when he finally won “logoless” at last weekend’s Wyndham Championship, there was a lot of confusion as to why he had no sponsorship and what the future would now be. For that answer, we called up Moore’s manager Jeremy, who also happens to be his older brother.

Darren: Why the stance against sponsorship?

Jeremy: He’s not against sponsorships or endorsements, he just wanted to focus on his golf game.

Darren: So now that he has won is that good enough?

Jeremy: Well, he’s still about building relationships and he wants to do long-term deals with companies that also represent who he is as player and a person.

Darren: What does he not want?

Jeremy: He doesn’t want to be a billboard. He doesn’t want to look like a NASCAR driver with logos everywhere. Ryan is a unique person and he wants to do his own thing.

Darren: So a deal with Nike would be out of the question because he’d be one of a group of golfers that would wear the brand?

Jeremy: If he were with Nike he’d be one of 30 golfers wearing Nike. I don’t want to say there’s no chance to that, but it would really have to be the right circumstances.

Darren: GOLF Magazine said that Ryan left about $300,000 on the table by not having any logos on him and winning the tournament.

Jeremy: He probably lost $300,000 in bonuses, but he lost a lot more than that in terms of not having other contracts. But money is really the least of concerns for him. If he plays well, the purses are so large these days, that ultimately it’s about his play.

Darren: In other words, sponsorship is not worth it if it could at all hurt a part of his game?

Jeremy:He just wanted the freedom to play whatever he wanted. He does have a deal with Callaway to play their ball and glove and he 100 percent believes in them, but he did want to play with another putter brand and driver and that meant he couldn’t have his deal with Ping.

Darren: What shoes has he been wearing? There's a logo on them.

Jeremy:They're actually Pumas. But he doesn't have a deal with them. They're just comfortable. He bought them off the Internet.

Darren: The sports marketing world is not used to this –- someone who is seemingly untouchable because they are almost not part of the capitalistic society. The only parallel I can think of in the golf world is the Masters, where Augusta National doesn’t care about making the most money they can make.

Jeremy: He gets the questions, “Why on earth are you doing this?” Well, it’s for the right reasons. He wants to give himself the best chance at winning.

Darren: So is it possible that if he can continue winning, he will continue to shun deals?

Jeremy:If he wins a couple times a year, I think there’s a chance he’ll do that. He might say to himself, I’ve made $4 million, I don’t need another $2 million.

Darren: So if a company is interested in landing Ryan Moore, do you have any advice?

Jeremy: He is looking for a mutually beneficial partnership. We’ve been building relationships and talking with people who we think might be close to fitting the bill.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com