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October 01, 2010

U.S. Ryder Cup team switches rain gear Friday

Posted at 11:18 AM by David Dusek | Categories: ProQuip, Rain Gear, Ryder Cup, Sun Mountain

Matt Kuchar When it comes to things like rain jackets, bags and other golf accessories, no news is good news. Golfers don't scrutinize these items like they do drivers, irons and putters, but when you need them to work, they had better work.

Earlier in the week the company that made the U.S. team's rain gear, Sun Mountain, wrote on its Facebook page, "Weather will most likely be a factor at this year's event. May the team with the best outerwear win."

But on Friday during the opening four-ball matches at the 2010 Ryder Cup, the rain gear worn by Matt Kuchar (above) and the rest of the U.S. team got heavy, retained water and didn't keep the players dry as water poured from the sky.

Darren Clarke"[The raingear] didn't perform the way we would have liked it to perform," said U.S. team captain Corey Pavin when interviewed on ESPN. "So we have remedied that and have some new raingear."

 Once the course was deemed unplayable and players retreated to the clubhouse, staffers for the U.S. team hit the merchandise tent and bought several rain suits made by the company that is outfitting Darren Clarke (right) and the rest of the European team, ProQuip.

The Scottish company supplied the European team with foul-weather apparel in the previous two Ryder Cups and is the official suppler of waterproof gear for the European Tour. It has also made foul-weather apparel for the last two U.S. Solheim Cup teams.

Rory McIlroy couldn't help but needle the U.S. team during the delay, Tweeting, "Just have to say that our waterproofs are performing very well."

Sun Mountain's public relations firm released the following statement Friday afternoon:

Sun Mountain has been designing and selling outerwear for more than two decades. We have provided rainwear to 3,000 plus PGA of America Professionals and over 150 tour players, and supplied outerwear to numerous U.S. teams, including the Walker Cup and the 2000 and 2009 Presidents Cup teams. Sun Mountain has staff on the ground at the Ryder Cup working in conjunction with the PGA of America on this issue.

Had the rain gear worked well, it's likely that few people would ever have known that it was made by Sun Mountain. The PGA of America forbids the companies that make apparel and accessories from publicizing the relationship, selling the merchandise or using it in advertisements. Sun Mountain couldn't even put its logo on the products. Neither could Belding, the company that made the golf bags for the U.S. team, which allegedly leaked during Friday's deluge.

In light of current events, maybe that anonymity is a good thing for the companies involved.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook

(Photos by Robert Beck/SI)

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