Here's an email subject we never expected to read: "PING Signs Michael Phelps."
No, PING have not developed a matt-black swimming cap designed for increased speed and distance, instead they have announced an agreement with the former Olympic gold medalist that will see Phelps use a full set of PING's custom-fit clubs.
(Cue swimming related pun-headlines...)
Custom fitting is an important step for any golfer looking to get the most out of a new set of clubs, but for Phelps it is even more important. Being 6'4" with long arms and large hands is ideal for swimming, but not necessarily for golf. However, he is the perfect subject for a custom fitting program.
The technicians at PING got to work, fitting Phelps with the following set:
One inch over standard length, three degrees upright and with grips 1/32-inch over standard size.
Phelps, who only started playing golf in 2008, said "I know how difficult the game of golf is, but I’m really serious about getting better and the experts at PING have already helped me a lot... Considering how tall I am and the length of my arms, they showed me how important and beneficial it is that I play with custom-fit clubs. Once I had clubs that were built specifically for me, my ball flight improved right away.
PING's Chairman and CEO, John A. Solheim, said “We’ve custom-built his clubs to ensure he has every chance to improve and we believe he’ll dedicate himself to golf with the same intensity he gave to swimming. His global presence as a golfer will bring PING tremendous exposure and just as importantly, shed additional light on the game in general.”
Phelps' clubs were given a custom paint job thanks to PING Wrx, the company's custom shop. Accents of patriotic red, white and blue were added to his clubs, as well as gold for his Olympic success.
In his PING debut, Phelps will join fellow PING player, Bubba Watson, in the Annexus Pro-Am at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. No doubt he'll be hoping his new PING Scottsdale TR putter can hole putts like the 135-footer he made at last year's Alfred Dunhill Championship:
For more PING news and for all the latest PING equipment, check out our official Ping Zone.