Jim Furyk and 5-Hour Energy: Golf’s weirdest endorsement

Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Contributor

Late last month, a study found men taking high doses of B6 and B12 had a 30 to 40 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer. 5-Hour Energy includes 2000 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 and 4000 percent of the RDA of B12.

Thus, it’s a fitting time to remember the demise of one of the most bizarre marketing partnerships in the history of the PGA Tour: Jim Furyk and 5-Hour Energy, and it’s appropriate to be thankful Furyk has disassociated from the company.

The balding, businesslike Furyk is anything but a dynamic commodity on the PGA Tour today, but back in 2012, the then 42-year-old was…also not a dynamic commodity.

Furyk is, by all accounts, a great guy. Tons of respect there. He is not, however, a vibrant personality. Excellent at striking the golf ball. Not so excellent at pitching products.

The 5-Hour Furyk spots were painful, sending waves of second-hand embarrassment to viewers brains quicker than the company’s patented blend of taurine, caffeine, and B-vitamins.

Who thought this was a good idea? “I feel more energized…I have more energy,” Furyk drones. He can’t even talk convincingly about having energy, let alone display vitality! After the redundant pair of positive proclamations, Furyk essentially restates the same thing in a negative way for lack of anything else to say: “I’m not tired anymore.”

“I have the energy to get through a meeting,” he says. Friends, does this look like the face of a man who is getting through a meeting? He seems to be, in fact, actually asleep in a meeting.

(Photo credit: YouTube)

Furyk inked the multi-year deal with 5-Hour in 2012 for an undisclosed sum. The deal landed the company the coveted front-of-hat logo area, which firms usually shell out in the high six to low seven figures for on top players.

“This is an exciting deal because it brings a whole new category into golf,” said Andrew Witlieb, Furyk’s agent and CEO said at the time. “This is going to be the brand’s big splash in golf and they’re the leader in their category.”

Yes. A big splash. Like a sinking ship.

A 2012 Sports Business Journal article announcing the deal described 5-Hour Energy this way.

“But unlike many energy drinks, 5-Hour Energy’s branding is not the hip, cool look that goes after the younger crowd. Hence, the brand fit with the 41-year-old Furyk, a husband and father of two. His “family man” persona was what 5-hour Energy decided on after talking to several younger golfers, sources said, including up-and-comers Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and others.

“5-Hour Energy’s target in golf is the middle-aged businessman, the teacher, the blue-collar worker, anyone in that more mature professional space who’s trying to get through the afternoon at work and needs an energy boost.”

Dustin Johnson was getting his five hours of energy thanks to another substance back then, if reports are to be believed. Webb Simpson, while odious, at least has a personality. Poor Jim was never going to be up to the task. Like, the only things the casual golf fan knows Jim Furyk for are having a weird swing and playing really slow. How does that translate to: “Bring us that guy!”

Yes, Furyk won three times in 2010 and was relatively high-profile in 2011 (the year before the deal), but come on, throw a dart at a list of the top 50 finishers in the FedEx Cup and you’re almost guaranteed a pitch man that pitches.

Furyk and 5-Hour kept up the low-energy partnership through 2014 when Callaway, mercifully, took over the real estate above his considerable beak as hat sponsor.

But hey, at least bizarre partnership yielded this Baba Booeyism at the 2014 U.S. Open.

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