Plastics pipe giant JM Eagle got a big PR boost last weekend with the company's sponsorship of a new LPGA event, the JM Eagle LA Championship.
The tournament, held at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, was televised on NBC's Golf Channel. In addition to the prominent branding on the course — including the company name and logo on the championship trophy — the TV coverage featured numerous commercials for JM Eagle and sister company Plastpro Inc.
JM and Plastpro are owned and managed by a plastics construction sector power couple: Walter and Shirley Wang. Walter is president and CEO of Los Angeles-based JM Eagle, which is North America's largest pipe company. Shirley is CEO of Plastpro, a fiberglass door maker with a highly automated factory in Ashtabula, Ohio.
The Wangs made a big splash with the LPGA pro golfers. They doubled the prize money for the tournament, to $3 million, from the prior tournament held at Wilshire Country Club. They also held a pro-am party with 54 prizes for players, each worth thousands of dollars, including airline flight credits, Amazon gift certificates and American Express gift cards.
JM Eagle signed a five-year deal to sponsor the tournament. Walter Wang said he wants to elevate women's golf, both via exposure and financially.
"The ladies work just as hard as the men. They're just as talented. Why is the purse average one-fifth of the men?" Wang said in an interview. "A lot of companies talk about, 'well how many eyeballs?' How many eyeballs represent how much sponsorship? I want to do something different. I want to, hopefully, lead other companies to put more money into the LPGA and invest into the players."
The tournament had an exciting finish, with a three-way tie that Hannah Green won after two playoff holes.