The annual worst kept secret in golf is out of the bag. Honma has announced that it has signed Justin Rose to a multi-year partnership.
Details, including Rose’s bag makeup, haven’t been disclosed, and it’s possible he’ll be given time to transition from his current TaylorMade setup. Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall reports that the deal specifies at least 10 Honma clubs in the bag. Within those constraints, it’s same to assume irons will be part of the package. JDM brands aren’t known for producing world-class metalwoods, so it’s going to be interesting to see if, and how quickly, Rose moves out of his TaylorMade driver.
As Wall notes, the ball is an unknown as well.
We’ve previously covered Honma’s efforts to figure out North America. To date, Honma’s presence on the PGA Tour has been basically zero, however, with a single signing, it becomes the biggest impact player from JDM division.
Few would dispute that Rose doesn’t offer the same type of marketing horsepower as Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, however, for a company looking to making an impact, adding the World #2 to your staff and putting your logo on his bag is one hell of a start. For a largely unknown brand to make the biggest signing of the new season is impressive.
It should be noted that early last fall, Honma hired former TaylorMade CEO, Mark King, as a strategic advisor. King has since brought on other former TaylorMade execs to help forge Honma’s path forward. It’s too early to say how much of the band is getting back together, but our thinking is that King doesn’t do small – and that suggests this could be the first of many things to come as Honma makes a serious run at infiltrating the North American market.
Expect more details in the coming weeks.