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Jason Day finding his identity again with Malbon Golf ahead of Masters: 'I look nothing like anyone else'

Jason Day finding his identity again with Malbon Golf ahead of Masters: ‘I look nothing like anyone else’

Tooba Shakir 1 month ago 0 2

As the Australian native Jason Day stepped up to the first tee at The Sentry in Hawaii to start his 17th season on the PGA Tour in January, he looked different. 

For the first time in seven years, Day wasn’t wearing his typical Nike gear. And he wasn’t back with Adidas, the brand he spent a decade with prior to his move to Nike.

Instead, he had a pair of loose, straight-legged tan pants with a baggier polo compared to the regular ones seen on Tour with a green, cursive “M” embroidered on his right pec. The same cursive font was used to write the name of the brand that has taken the golf world by storm down his right pant leg toward the ankle: Malbon.  

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Jason Day hits bunker shot

Jason Day hits bunker shot in Malbon Golf attire. (Malbon Golf)

Where culture and fashion intersect with golf, you’ll find Malbon Golf, the brand founded by Stephen and Erica Malbon in 2017 because of their love for the game. It’s a lifestyle brand that has appealed to the likes of famous rappers, skateboarders, athletes in other sports, the everyday golfer, and now Tour players like Day, who wanted individuality back on the course. 

“I was kinda getting tired of wearing similar stuff over and over again,” Day told Fox News Digital over Zoom prior to teeing it up at Augusta National this week for the 2024 Masters, where he’ll be wearing Malbon for the first time. “I think it was to a point where I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to go more custom kinda stuff. Wear my own thing.’

“I was kinda sick of looking across at another athlete that was wearing the exact same thing as me, you know what I mean? On any given day, you’re just walking by and it’s like, ‘Dang man, I’m losing my, to a certain degree, identity here.’ I’m just like one of the other guys, which is totally fine. Once again, I had tremendous success with Adidas, tremendous success with Nike. I think I was just looking more as an individual thing for me personally.”

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When Day was looking to make that switch to more custom fits, he and his agent, Bud Martin, went through a few brands before looking into Malbon, which Day had heard of through mutual friends and seeing the brand’s multitude of collaborations on social media. 

They’ve collaborated with Nike and Adidas, Coca-Cola and Budweiser, and even Tag Heuer and Jimmy Choo are working with the brand. And while the Malbons began with a shop in Los Angeles, they’ve gone global less than a decade later, especially with a large following in South Korea. 

Day’s interactions with Stephen Malbon, an avid golfer himself, had the 13-time PGA Tour winner sold. 

“I’ve been a fan of golf forever,” Stephen Malbon told Fox News Digital. “I’ve been watching Jason for as long as I can remember. Obviously, talent wise, he’s one of the greatest golfers to ever do it. But also, as a family man, he has a great family. He has one of the, if not the best, reputation on Tour of like a genuinely nice, good guy. I’ve heard stories from some of my buddies on Tour when they were rookies playing with Jason, and he’s like cheering them on. He’s a human at the end of the day, and I think he’s a great guy.”

Stephen Malbon looks on course

Stephn Malbon, founder of Malbon Golf, on a golf course. (Malbon Golf)

Day added: “When I was able to meet Stephen and Erica, trying to hear what their vision was, where they’re taking the company, it was interesting to me. It took me a while to get used to the baggy pants, the more fabric, all that stuff. Granted, I used to wear that stuff all the time back when I was a kid. But it took me a while to get used to it, and obviously it is what it is today.”

The typical look on Tour today is tight, lightweight fabric, or as Day liked to put it, “techy.” It’s designed to fit the bodies of these athletes, but it can get redundant over time. Some golfers have even been seen wearing the same color scheme at the same time with major brands. 

So, when Day teed it up at The Sentry, and has done so at every other Tour event since, the reception hasn’t been all positive. 

It doesn’t bother him in the slightest. 

“It’s interesting,” Day, who made sure to mention it wasn’t too long ago where professional golfers wore suits, said when asked about the feedback he’s gotten from his peers. “The older guys typically would be like, ‘Hey, that style’s not for me.’ The younger guys will come up to me all the time and say, ‘Man, this stuff is off the charts. I love Malbon, I love the brand.’ It’s funny. It’s more of a generational thing.”

Malbon pants and shoes on Jason Day

A detailed view of shoes worn by Jason Day as he plays the second green during The Sentry at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Jan. 4, 2024, in Hawaii. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Malbon’s mission on their website reads, “To inspire today’s youth to participate in the greatest game on Earth.” Some may view that as Stephen and Erica’s brand looking to disrupt golf, making their brand appealing to that category of golfer who plays municipal courses in jeans and a T-shirt and doesn’t take the game seriously. 

It couldn’t be further from the case. As Stephen put it, “We never sought to be disruptive – it’s more inspirational.” And that inspiration came from Stephen’s friends saying how intimidated they felt going to a golf course when they first started playing. 

“There’s so many people who are apprehensive, or nervous of golf. ‘What do I wear? Where do I stand? How do I talk? What do I do when I go to the clubhouse?’ There’s so many of these nuance rules and such.

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“I think what we’ve done that’s cool is celebrating and being unapologetically ourselves, and so are our friends. If you like music, art and fashion, and you happen to also want to putt for two hours a day like a maniac to get better at golf, that’s amazing. It’s not trying to disrupt. It’s more trying to show the game is so amazing, it’s so great.”

What Day and others like LPGA Tour golfers Charley Hull and Rose Zhang, who also wears the brand during her tournaments, quickly learned about Malbon when they got introduced to the brand was the community that’s been organically built through the years. 

Day has since been around rapper SchoolBoy Q and former NFL wide receiver Victor Cruz, among many others who come from different walks of life, but share the same common love for golf. 

Erica Malbon putts while Stephen Malbon watches

Stephen and Erica Malbon look to inspire today’s youth to participate in golf. (Malbon Golf)

Because that’s what the game is all about for Malbon: getting rid of the “stuffiness” that country clubs have traditionally had in the past, and like the mission states, making the game more appealing for the generations to come. 

But don’t mistake that for thinking Malbon wants to stomp out all the traditions that have been built over the years. Stephen will tell you himself the “greatest feeling ever” is taking your hat off to walk into Riviera Country Club’s clubhouse. 

Another example of Stephen’s respect for the game will be showcased at this year’s Masters – his sixth time going to Augusta National, while Day suits up for his 13th tournament and will be wearing Malbon at the historic course. 

“I think being able to wear the Malbon brand at Augusta, there are a lot of traditions there,” Day explained. “They typically say it: ‘We don’t have rules here, we have traditions at Augusta.’ That is one of the places where you feel it the most, especially being an old-school club.

“I think it’s more about being able to showcase like, ‘Hey, we’re wearing the brand, but it’s golf.’ We’re trying to do it in the most respectful way, but also being able to showcase what is behind Stephen’s ideas of being able to blend the fashion world in regard to the golfing world.”

Jason Day reads putt

Jason Day waits to putt during the second round of The Sentry at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on Jan. 5, 2024. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

After getting out to the back nine bright and early at Augusta to soak in the moment of being there for Masters week, Stephen can’t wait to follow Day around the course. 

“Having Jason wearing our stuff, it’s a beyond feeling. I don’t really know how to put into words what it is. If you ever want to be respectful toward a club, toward a tradition, toward a history, that’s where you do it.”

Day has seen the script for fits that he’ll be wearing, and he’s excited to show the world what Malbon cooked up for Masters week. It might not be the status quo, but that’s the whole point.

“Whether people like it or not, people talking about it is a good thing because we’re kind of shaking up the fabric of golf,” Day said. 

Jason Day in Malbon clothes

PGA Tour player Jason Day joined Malbon, a lifestyle golf brand, for his outfits on Tour this season. (Malbon Golf)

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“I tell you now when I’m playing, I look nothing like anyone else out there, which is fantastic. So it’s kinda nice to have that individuality back in my game.”

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