EQUIPMENT giant Ping has announced the signing of European Tour player Eddie Pepperell on a multi-year agreement.
As part of the deal, the 28-year-old from Frilford Heath GC will compete wearing a Ping hat and carry a staff bag bearing its logo, joining the likes of Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson and big-hitting Cameron Champ in the Ping stable.
The former Drayton Park junior, who lives near Abingdon, currently plays with 14 Ping clubs, including a G410 Plus driver (nine degrees), G410 5-wood (17.5 at 16 degree), i210 irons (3-PW), Glide Forged wedges (52, 56, and 60 degree) and a Custom PLD PrimeTyne putter.
Pepperell is a two-time European Tour winner, having claimed victories at the Qatar Masters and British Masters in 2018.
The former England amateur international also finished tied sixth at the Open Championship at Carnoustie two years ago.
Eddie made his debut as a Ping staff player at the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg today (Thursday).
Ping president John K Solheim said: “Eddie is one of the most popular players on the European Tour and we are very pleased that he has chosen to represent PING.
“With two European Tour victories already to his name, we look forward to supporting him going forward and wish him continued success. I enjoy his humour on social media.
“He’s fun to follow and always keeps things interesting.”
Eddie revealed to his followers on Twitter that he had gone out the night before the final round of the 2018 Open Championship, and enjoyed “a few glasses of red wine.”
He then proceeded to shot a superb final round of 67 on Sunday, despite feeling a “little hungover” after sharing a bottle with this coach Simon Shanks.
The round left him unsure of whether to leave Carnoustie in case the clubhouse leader might find himself in with a chance of a playhouse as Francesco Molinarni completed his back nine.
As it was the Italian took the Claret Jug, finishing three shots ahead of the Oxfordshire ace, who had started the day eight shots behind the leader, having endured a frustrating Saturday on Carnoustie’s famously tough track.
Eddie, who came through ranks playing for B.B.&O. with Harleyford’s Tyrrell Hatton, regularly shares his life with favoured pooch Gus on social media.
He is not afraid of entering a debate with his followers – and some times critics, or voicing an opinion about everything from human rights in Saudi Arabia to a fellow Wee Wonders graduate winning his first tournament after Aaron Rai’s win in Hong Kong.
His blogs have showed Pepperell to be a very thoughtful student of life and the human psyche as well as golf.
He has revealed many of the frustrations as well as highlights of a modern tour pro’s life, living out of suitcases and in airport departure lounges.
In 2018, he teamed up with experienced tour caddy Mick Doran, who has worked with the likes of Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, David Howell Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke.
The Berkshire-based caddy, who grew up in Englefield Green and caddied at Wentworth before finding himself on the bag when Italy’s Costantino Rocca lost a play-off at St Andrews, in the 1995 Open.
With many pundits believing the Open offers Pepperell’s best hopes in the Majors, Doran’s experience with many of Europe’s Ryder Cup stars over the last 30 years, could be invaluable when Royal St George’s hosts the 148th Open Championship at Sandwich this summer.
Pepperell lost to Hertfordshire’s fellow England junior Tom Lewis, from Welwyn Garden City, in the final of the Boys’ Amateur Championship, at Royal St George’s, in 2009.
Two years later, Lewis, fresh off his victory in the St Andrews Links Trophy, one of the top three amateur strokeplay events in Europe, led the Open after the first round at Royal St Geroge’s.
Slightly surprisingly, Pepperell, who turned pro in 2011 only qualified for his first Open in 2015 – having lost a play-off in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, at Royal County Down.
Hatton by contrast, played in his fourth Open in six years at St Andrews that summer after finishing fourth in Northern Ireland, after missing out on the play-off by just a shot.
Pepperell’s pay cheque of €217,135 after that play-off defeat, in very windy conditions, was the biggest of his young career, and also saw him break into the world top 100 for the first time.
At that point Eddie had already qualified for the 2013 US Open at Merion, when Justin Rose, became the first English winner since Tony Jacklin 43 years earlier, after Pepperell came through the European qualifier at Walton Heath – the scene of his second European Tour victory 15 months ago.
That win lifted Pepperell – who was crowned Portuguese Amateur Champion in 2011 – to an all-time high of 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Eddie, who turns 29 later this month, said at the time of his Open debut: “I grew up playing links in my amateur days so it’s something I’m very comfortable with when I’m playing well.
“I’m going to embrace the experience and hopefully go there with my game in good shape and you never know what can happen.”
Currently in 52nd place on the OWGR, Pepperell will be looking for a strong start to 2020, to get back into the top 50 to secure his second appearance at The Masters – having missed the cut on his debut in 2019.
The last Ping player to win The Open? Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews in 2010, who is the defending champion in South Africa this week.
•You can follow Eddie Pepperell’s blog by clicking here.