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Fowler discusses sponsorship changes in new year

Fowler discusses sponsorship changes in new year

Rickie Fowler and Puma developed a hat with an “L” on the front to bring awareness and raise money for Lahaina and its slow recovery from the deadly Aug. 8 wildfires.

Otherwise, he had a clean look at Kapalua, at least clean by his standards.

Gone were the logos of Farmers Insurance, Rocket Mortgage and Mercedes. Two of them will not be coming back, and one of those raises questions about the tournament at Torrey Pines.

“Farmers decided not to extend,” Fowler said. “I think they have a new CEO and are downsizing. I don’t know if they’re going to do much in golf. They’ll go with their contract in golf (Torrey Pines). I don’t know if they’ll extend on that.”

Raul Vargas started as CEO at the start of 2023 and the company announced in August it would be laying off 11% of its workforce, or about 2,400 employees, as part of a restructuring to increase efficiency.

It has been title sponsor at Torrey Pines since 2010, with the latest extension through 2026. Wells Fargo already has announced it would not renew its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour event in North Carolina after this year.

“My term is up and they decided not to go forward,” Fowler said. “Get it. Understand. Had a great run, great to be associated with the tournament at Torrey that was once closest to where I grew up.”

He said the Mercedes deal also expired, and that decision was made last May.

As for Rocket Mortgage, Fowler said the latest contract expired and they are finalizing plans on something new that wasn’t quite done in time for the PGA Tour’s season opener. Fowler ended a long drought last year by winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic.