Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have deals with Rolex.
Norman, however, has become the face of this battle of Swiss watches. He said his involvement in the PGA of America deal with Omega “wasn’t me charging like a bull in a china shop. The opportunity was there for negotiations, and the rest was up to them.”
Turnberry is where Norman won his first major championship in 1986. Only when he arrived for the Senior British Open was Norman told he no longer was needed in the pro-am, which is reserved for the top players. Few others have credentials of Norman, who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“I was absolutely miffed,” he said. “At the end of the day, it completely takes away any incentive. I won’t go back and play the Senior British Open sponsored by Rolex. Who’s cutting the throat here? In my opinion, it’s a childish attitude.”
Omega, meanwhile, already has elevated its deal with the PGA of America, giving it preferred access at the Ryder Cup and an expanded presence in the corporate hospitality area. And while it can’t promote its Ryder Cup relationship in Europe, Urquhart said, “People watching the Ryder Cup on European television will see the Omega clock.”
Ultimately, the PGA of America and Europe would like to have similar sponsors for the same event. If that’s the case, it could be quite a bidding war.
“Everybody loses sometimes,” Urquhart said. “We will do everything we can not to lose what we have.”
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