Noh Seung-yul, left, shakes hands with Kim Dong-ook, general manager of Nike Golf Korea, after signing a multi-year deal with the Oregon-based company in Seoul, Tuesday. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
By Kang Seung-woo
Emerging Korean golfer Noh Seung-yul signed a multi-year deal with Nike Golf, Tuesday.
Nike Golf Korea did not release the terms but said the contract is speculated to be for at least three years. With the deal, the 21-year-old will represent the sporting goods firm by using its clubs and balls and wearing its footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories.
"Nike is the No. 1 sports brand in the world," said Noh. "The best players in the world trust the Swoosh and I am proud to be a part of that group."
"Seung-yul is an impressive athlete, who is powerful and long off the tee," said Mark Thaxton, global director of Nike Golf's Sports Marketing Operations. "He has a tremendous future with Nike Golf and we are thrilled to have him among our strong stable of athletes."
Nike currently has high-profile golfers under its wing including 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim and Michelle Wie, all of whom are from the United States, and is expected to see world No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland join its stable soon. It recently added Americans Nick Watney, Kyle Stanley and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.
Noh made his PGA Tour debut last year and competed in 28 tournaments, making three top-10 finishes and 24 straight cuts. His season-best was a tie for fourth at the AT&T National, where Woods triumphed.
When speculation arose that McIlroy was to change equipment there were negative reactions to the switch, saying it will hurt his game.
But Noh put aside the concerns and said he trusts his new clubs.
"I had field and TrackMan tests and the data were satisfactory enough to change equipment," said Noh, who became the nation's first golfer to strike a deal with the Oregon-based company since Grace Park in 2003 and Choi Kyoung-ju in 2005.
Noh, who will begin his 2013 campaign at the Humana Challenge in California on Jan. 17, has set his sights on two victories this season.
"I am eyeing the AT&T National and Wells Fargo Championship because their courses are cut out for my draw-hitting style," he said.
"Two wins will be able to catapult my world ranking inside the top 30 and assure me of a spot at the Presidents Cup."