Mastercard has distanced itself from brand ambassadors Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell of the LIV Golf Series, Sports Business Journal reported.
Mastercard’s senior vice president of communications, Seth Eisen, confirmed SBJ Friday that the company’s relationship with Poulter and McDowell was cut short due to uncertainties over their participation in the PGA Tour, which suspended the pair and many others after jumping to compete with LIV Golf. (McDowell gave up his PGA Tour card shortly before the first LIV event near London.)
SBJ’s story mentioned that Poulter signed an endorsement deal with Mastercard in 2009 and McDowell joined the brand in 2011.
Poulter didn’t wear the Mastercard logo on his shirt at last week’s LIV event in Oregon, but the logo was back on his collar in the opening rounds of this week’s Genesis Scottish Open, co- sanctioned by the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour. He also wore a logo for Stanley Black & Decker, with whom Poulter signed a contract in early 2022. Both of these logos were present on Poulter’s kit during Friday’s second round in Scotland, as were the logos of Titleist and FootJoy , watchmaker Audemars Piguet, member of the Aurae Lifestyle program and private airline NetJets.
In Scotland, Poulter also wore the logo of his LIV team, the Majesticks.
Graeme McDowell watches his practice off the 10th tee during the 2022 JP McManus Pro-Am earlier this week at Adare Manor in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
McDowell, meanwhile, had already been dropped by another financial sponsor. Royal Bank of Canada has dumped the former US Open winner after announcing he would move to LIV without appearing at the RBC Canadian Open.
Poulter and fellow LIV players Adrian Otaegui of Spain and Justin Harding of South Africa won a court-ordered temporary injunction that allowed them to play at the Scottish Open after being banned from the event by the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour. Harding opened the Scottish Open with a 65 before faltering with a 74 in the second round.
SBJ did not indicate how long the “pause” between Mastercard and the two players could last or what mitigating factors could resume relations.
Poulter and McDowell aren’t the first players to lose contracts or have sponsorships suspended since announcing their plans to join LIV Golf. Phil Mickelson, who also signed to play with LIV, has seen several business relationships canceled or terminated since quitting the PGA Tour. Most notably, longtime sponsor Callaway announced it was suspending its relationship with Mickelson in February, and last year’s PGA Championship winner was not seen in any of its traditional logos at LIV events.