Dustin Johnson is marketed quite heavily by his sponsors, particularly in advertisements and commercials by equipment and clothing manufacturer TaylorMade-adidas.
He’s taking control of one aspect of his marketability, however – his trademarked logo.
Johnson has hats and polo shirts for sale on his website featuring his logo, which is comprised of the lowercase ‘d’ and ‘j’ of his initials intermingled.
Joey Thomas, a friend and former Coastal Carolina classmate of Johnson who acts as his Social Media Manager, is spearheading the creation of merchandise and their sales. Thomas lives in Columbus, Ohio, and owns Thomasonian Media LLC. He also works with PGA Tour member Jeff Overton.
“We figured this would be a good start; experiment and see what response he’d get from the fans,” Thomas said.
For now the sales are for profit for Thomas’ company and Dustin Johnson Enterprises. The long-term plan is to expand offerings and have sales benefit Johnson’s charitable foundation, as well as other charitable causes. “We’re all trying to see how to make that work,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping in 2013 to have the foundation sponsor more things and be involved in more things.”
The logo was first put in digital form for Johnson’s website by DSL Marketing and New Media Hospitality of Myrtle Beach, which includes designers Glenn Garfold and Chris Crowl. The logo made its way to tangible goods through dustinjohnson.com last September.
The logo is on the sleeve of shirts, and on the front of semi-flat bill baseball hats – the style of hat Johnson prefers for competition. “He’s a guy that likes simplicity, but it’s refined and sharp,” Thomas said.
The merchandise launch began with an official white hat. There are now six different hat options and four polo shirt colors. Four hats are in the same style in the colors black, white, grey and navy. There’s also a white women’s hat with pink and purple stripes and a white visor. Johnson’s name is on the back of the hats, and they have an adidas logo on one side and TaylorMade logo on the other.
Polos come in white, black, navy and grey, and are 100 percent polyester in the adidas climacool line. Thomas said the shirts are produced by adidas manufacturers in China.
Thomas said more than 2,500 hats have been sold through the website, and they’ve been shipped to numerous countries including Canada, Denmark, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan and South Africa. “The thing I’m proud of most is they’re being shipped to virtually every corner of the globe,” Thomas said. “There are so many destinations for his logo.”
The navy cap contains white lettering and an American flag on the back instead of Johnson’s name. Proceeds from those hats will likely be earmarked for a Wounded Warrior charity. Thomas expects a version of a women’s hat to benefit breast cancer research or another female charity.
Thomas said he is in discussions with adidas corporate apparel executives on a line of Dustin Johnson 365 active wear. “It’s being discussed but hasn’t come to fruition yet,” Thomas said.
“We’re setting up Dustin’s logo and merchandising for the future. Once Dustin does win a major – and I think a lot of the people that know Dustin well know it’s one of those inevitable things – the foundation will be in place to take it even further.”
Thomas said he initially went to cap-makers with the idea for dj logo merchandise, but Johnson’s agent, David Winkle, suggested he take it to adidas “and they were all about it,” Thomas said.
Thomas and Johnson hope to eventually sell some merchandise wholesale and get dj logo merchandise into retail stores, but Thomas said it’s not feasible at the moment.
They’re also hoping to get the logo on his hat on the PGA Tour as soon as possible. TaylorMade-sponsored players Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose have their logo on the back of their hats, and Nike-sponsored Tiger Woods has it on the front. “Promotionally I’d love to see that push to them to see that logo on the back,” Thomas said.
Thomas is inspired by the impact Woods and Rickie Fowler have had on the buying public. “What Rickie has done to put his clothing, his look, his image, especially on the youth of golfing fans, has been incredible,” Thomas said.
As his Social Media Manager, Thomas manages the content of Johnson’s posts on his website as well as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Thomas said he’s the source of some posts and Johnson is the source of others, and he’s often on tour with him.
While his merchandise sales have been active, Johnson has been idle. He is entered in the Memorial this week, but has played just one competitive round since the final round of the Masters in mid-April, largely because of injuries that have caused left wrist/hand and lower back pain.
International 9 closing
If you want to play the International nine holes at International World Tour Golf Links, this week will be your final opportunity. At least eight of the holes are closing Saturday for redevelopment, leaving 18 holes at the 14-year-old facility in the Open and Championship nines.
It’s the first time in more than five years holes are closing for redevelopment on the Grand Strand, and some form of housing is planned for the land. The ninth hole along the entrance road will likely remain.
NGA players give 5
Despite many players on the Grand Strand-based National Golf Association Tour needing just about every penny earned to make it from one event to the next, many players participated in a fundraiser for tornado victims in Moore, Okla., called #5PercentMoore.
Competitors began a grassroots campaign to help the victims by pledging 5 percent of their earnings from this past week’s Three Ridges Golf Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., via a sign-up sheet in the locker room.
The pledge was the brainchild of Cleveland Golf/Srixon player development manager Mike Dunphy and NGA Tour player advisory board member Paul Apyan of Hixson, Tenn. After seeing the swath of damage caused by the F5 tornado, Dunphy contacted Apyan, trying to figure out a way to help the victims.
Apyan took to Twitter and the MiniTourProblems page he created a few years ago, pledging 5 percent of his earnings from the Three Ridges Classic and challenging other players to do so as well, while Dunphy decided to offer player participating in the pledge a Cleveland shoe bag.
“We decided to go with 5 percent, hoping that would get more players involved and it has worked,” Apyan told a tour media official. “We’ve had players from all around the country making the pledge. We have a lot of players on the NGA Tour that live near the affected areas and we’re all one big family out here. If I was in that situation, I would love for someone to do that for me.”
Apyan said nearly 50 NGA members participated, and players from the Tennessee state open and eGolf Tour also pledged earnings.
Some tour members who didn’t play in Knoxville have pledged to donate in the next event June 13-16 in Windsor, N.C., and even past NGA members joined in, as Web.com Tour members Chris Wilson and Jim Renner have pledged 5 percent of their winnings from their next starts. Anyone wishing to join the pledge may contact the NGA Tour at 1-800-992-8748.
Apyan isn’t sure if the 5 percent gesture will be revived for other causes. “It was just something we started randomly and we weren’t sure what it would turn into,” he said. “I’m still not sure what it will turn into.”
The NGA Tour also announced it will support and implement any decision the PGA Tour makes on the anchoring ban, once it is rendered later this year. A tour mission is to ready players for the next level. “The NGA Tour will continue to mirror the PGA Tour as much as possible,” Tour president Robin Waters said.
Past soldiers hit links
On the heels of Memorial Day, approximately 800 retired military members will be on the Grand Strand to participate in the 30th annual National Retired Military Golf Classic from Wednesday through Saturday.
The tournament is hosted by National Golf Management and Oceana Resorts and is being played on five NGM courses – the three Myrtle Beach National courses, Long Bay Club and Aberdeen Country Club.
NGM says the event is the largest and longest-running golf event for retired military in the world, and tournament director U.S. Army Col. Terry Brown estimates participants have served the country a combined 20,000 years.
The field includes about 700 men and 100 women and the format is a captain’s choice scramble over 72 holes for men and 54 holes for women, with teams changing each day. All participants must have a USGA handicap index and military identification. Registration was $295 for men and $250 for women and included a cocktail reception Tuesday night at Bay Watch Resort and the choice of a ticket to the Alabama Theatre or a meal gift certificate.
Two chosen by Haney
First Tee of Brunswick County participants Cameryn Smith of Shallotte and Landon Patterson of Supply have been selected to participate in “The First Tee Training Program” at Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island from June 3-9.
Smith, 15 years old and an 8 handicap, and Patterson, 15, a 5 handicap, were nominated by their First Tee chapter and will join 50 other participants representing 40 chapters across the U.S.
During the program, students will receive instruction in full swing, short game, course management, mental preparation, fitness training and even college placement services.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.