Apr 13 2014, 3:33pm CDT | by Forbes
Whether or not he wins the Masters today, Jordan Spieth, who began the final round at Augusta National tied for the lead with Bubba Watson, has the persona to become just what the PGA needs right now: the Derek Jeter of golf.
The sports two biggest draws–Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson–are still golf’s top endorsement earners by a mile. But both players are on the back nine of their careers. And after all of Tiger’s bad publicity in the past his brand is not what it once was. Golf could use a young star with a stellar image.
Spieth strikes me as that type of guy. During a practice round on Tuesday, the 20 year old Spieth referred to two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw as “Mr. Crenshaw” and yesterday said he would call co-leader Bubba Watson “ Mr. Watson.” Class.
Derek Jeter was the same way when he first came up to the major leagues with the New York Yankees. Jeter referred to Yogi Berra as “Mr. Berra” and never wavered, calling his manager Joe Torre “Mr. Torre” throughout his career.
Class can count a lot when it comes to endorsements. Jeter is baseball’s top-paid pitchman, earning $9 million off the field with deals with Nike, Gatorade, Ford Motor, Movado, Steiner Sports, Rawlings and 24-hour Fitness. Speith already has some blue chip sponsors like Under Armour and Rolex. But a young player with his demeanor would rake in a fortune for both himself boost his sport’s brand.
Some think golf is looking for its next Tiger. I think Jeter would be more like it.
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