PRO GOLFER DALY LEAPS OVER ROUGH WITH WILSON DEAL

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When John Daly's problems with alcohol abuse were made public, some people thought his endorsement days were history.

They were wrong.

Mr. Daly last week renewed a 10-year agreement with Wilson Sporting Goods, the longest-term and most comprehensive golf contract the company has ever signed.

"We have tremendous confidence in him," said John Riccitiello, Wilson president-CEO. "He has incredible golf skills and terrific charisma, invaluable assets for promoting Wilson golf equipment and assuring his playing success and ongoing popularity in golf."

Mr. Riccitiello said Mr. Daly's past problems didn't spook the sporting goods company, with whom Mr. Daly has worked since 1992. The golfer was suspended from the PGA Association tour for several months after walking off the course in the middle of two tournaments.

The terms of the new agreement weren't disclosed, but it's believed his contract is based on how well Mr. Daly continues to play. The PGA celebrity was slated to participate in the U.S. Open, which began last week at the Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

Under his new agreement, Mr. Daly will have an increased role in Wilson golf advertising and promotional activities, and will actively participate in new-product development. As part of the deal, he will also use Wilson golf equipment exclusively.

"I'm very excited about this new agreement with Wilson golf, and I appreciate their commitment to a long-term relationship," Mr. Daly said.

Wilson's current ad campaign for golf, handled by Grant Jacoby, Chicago, consists of print ads in all the golf magazines as well as four TV spots featuring Mr. Daly.

The spots have been successful, said Mr. Riccitiello, and the company has no immediate plans to change the campaign.

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