PALM HARBOR, Fla – The merchandising staff at the 2018 Valspar Championship says it will not be fazed by the Tiger Woods buzz surrounding the tournament.
Because of the prize purse and the WGC-Mexico Championships taking place the week before, the Valspar Championship is not always well attended by professional golfers. Last year’s tournament was won by Canadian Adam Hadwin.
This year’s, however, features one of the best fields the Valspar has ever had, including Jordan Speith and, for the first time, Woods, and Rory McIlroy.
Rich Astle is the merchandise manager at the Innisbrook Resort and says his staff was fully aware of Woods anticipated arrival.
“We are totally prepared for it,” said Astle. “I had leading conversations up to it with our Nike rep and we had a lot of Tiger Woods merchandise actually sitting in queue on hold at Nike.”
According to Astle, Woods’ line of clothing is some of the most expensive items in their merchandise tent, with the shirts costing up to $90.
While he could not accurately give exact sales numbers so far, Astle did confirm the price is not scaring people away. Woods’ gear is some of their best-selling items.
His line was not added just for his arrival and is sold year ‘round at the Innisbrook Resort.
During his three years working at Innisbrook, Astle says, this is the most hectic the tournament has ever been and he believes Woods has a lot to do with that.
Woods was a late addition to the tournament field, committing only four days ago on March 2.
His participation instantly created a buzz, requiring the addition of 200 more volunteers, 10,000 extra parking spaces and 900 more portable toilets to accommodate the projected 10,000 daily spectators.