AUGUSTA, Ga. — Ryan Moore made headlines last August not only for winning the Wyndham Championship, but also for doing it as a professional who didn't have an equipment contract or clothing endorsement deal. His bag didn't have a logo, and neither did his shirt, shoes or hat.
A few months after that win, Moore signed an endorsement deal with Scratch Golf, a small manufacturer based in Chattanooga, Tenn., that proudly custom-grinds every set of irons it sells. When I talked with company reps at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January, I was told the company can produce about 10 sets of irons in a week.
But instead of getting paid big bucks to use the company's wedges and irons, Moore now has an equity stake in the company. In an article that appeared in Bloomberg, Ari Techner, Scratch Golf’s chief executive officer, said "We’re obviously not in a position to be giving him millions of dollars. We’re definitely looking at this as a long-term deal and hoping to have Ryan using our clubs for the rest of his career"
Moore had been playing Scratch Golf's SB-1 irons (inset) this season, a forged blade with classic lines and a thin topline. But Tuesday evening I got an e-mail from Scratch explaining that Moore had a set of oversized, cavity-backed Scratch EZ-1 irons (larger image at right) made to his specs especially for the Masters. The game-improvement clubs are not only more forgiving, but they also hit the ball higher than the SB-1 irons, which should allow Moore to stop the ball more quickly on Augusta's legendary greens. The photo above shows one of Moore's EZ-1 irons with an inset image of his regular SB-1 6-iron.