Hey, Anyone Know What This Hat Is All About?

You might have noticed when you were watching Tom Watson’s unlikely run through the Open this weekend that he was sporting a hat for a company called Adams Golf. And while Adams is a well-known brand in the golf community, it’s not exactly on the level of other more popular brands like Nike, Taylor Made, and Callaway. So it was quite an unexpected boon for the brand, whose shares have been trading for less than $3 in recent months on the NASDAQ, but rose more than 18% during the tournament solely based on Watson’s exposure.

Tom Watson

So what did Adams do to capitalize on all of this sudden attention? Well, in the wise words of the host of “Wheel of Fish”: NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! As CNBC’s Darren Rovell points out, not only were there were no newspaper ads, but the company didn’t even alter its Web site to feature Watson in any way. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised about how the company’s army of new shareholders responded the last two days.

On Monday morning, shares of Adams were trading as high as $3.18, but closed today at $2.50 — a drop of about 21% in less than 36 hours. Rovell says that the company’s inaction spoke volumes about its business sense:

Shares are down sharply today perhaps because the people who might have bought stock in the company are finally realizing that sitting and clapping probably isn’t the best way to cash in on your association.

I’m not sure what their budget is but found it pretty remarkable that Adams Golf didn’t have a single ad for Watson (see The Greenbrier’s full page ad in USA TODAY).

If that were too expensive, maybe they would have given him a special hat to play in Sunday’s final round.

And if that couldn’t be done, you’d at least think they’d get their Web designer to do some sort of Watson flash on the front of their Web page.

That doesn’t cost anything.

None of this happened.

As Richard mentioned in this morning’s Speed Read, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS ran a story today about the Plano, Texas-based outfit in which the CEO of the company called Watson the “face and heart and soul of our company.” But, as Rovell notes, Adams hasn’t updated its Web site to indicate which clubs Watson was using during his round — something that might be of interest to the millions of casual golfers out there, especially those in Watson’s age range. Adams, it should be said, already has a big market share in hybrid clubs, of which theirs are the most-used on the PGA Tour.

The difference in how Nike reacted to Stewart Cink’s win was striking:

Hours after Stewart Cink bested Watson their golf site had an array of products to offer out of Stewart’s bag.

All the consumer knows at this point is that Tom Watson wears an Adams Golf hat and I guess they assume he plays their clubs.

Adams’ other top endorsers are niche players like Aaron Baddeley and Brittany Lincicome, so it’s safe to say that they pretty much had one shot of striking while the iron was hot (so to speak), and fell apart faster than Watson did in the playoff.