This writer took a bit of time to construct an interview for Mark Thaxton of Nike Golf. After a successful academic and athletic stretch at Wake Forest University, along with a few attempts at professional tournament golf, Mark Thaxton settled in at Nike. Given the moves that the Oregon sports giant has made in golf this year (equipment, tour players, apparel) it is fitting that one digs a bit into the history and responsibilities of an important member of the Nike Golf administrative team. Here is the first part of the interview (part two may be found here):
Here we go. If a question is not to your liking, you may reword it or abandon it completely.
1. Your official title is Global Director of Sports Marketing for Nike Golf, correct?
Global Sports Marketing Operations Director
2. How long have you been with Nike Golf?
Started in October of 1998.
3. Can you walk us through your career with the company? Steps along the ladder is what we’re after.
Started as the PGA Tour field rep. (1998-2001.) Moved to Beaverton in August of 2001 to become US Tour Manager.(2001-2007) Moved to Director of US Sports Marketing (2007-2010) Global Sports Marketing Operations Director (2010 – present)
4. Let’s move to how you spend your time~You have an office on the Beaverton campus of the company…is that where you spend most of your work days? When not in the office, to where does business take you? Are you out on any of the tours with any regularity?
If I am in the office I am usually on the phone with agents/managers or in meetings. I travel to 10-12 PGA Tour events annually and other functions that we =may need to do. College events, LPGA and maybe an amateur event or 2 as well. I try to get to FT Worth at least 2 times a year. All in, I probably travel 20-25 trips a year.
5. Nike Golf has the most visible and recognizable sporting figure of all time on its staff in Tiger Woods. Can you freestyle a little bit and tell us what that means for the company, for you and for the consumer?
Tiger has been a tremendous athlete for our company the past 17 years. We have been lucky enough to witness 13 of his 14 majors won with Nike Golf products. He has helped us validate our golf company..we are still a young golf company compared to our competitors, and having Tiger compete with our products means a lot to our company.
6. Nike Golf just announced the signing of Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley to its staff. Two personable young guys! with loads of talent. What do you anticipate their contribution will be to the Nike Golf brand?
I anticipate more wins from these two athletes. They are passionate about our brand and they are part of our next generation golf athletes we are signing.
7. Rumor has it that a noteworthy player will sign with Nike Golf in mid-January. Is the rumor true? If so, can we talk about what this young man’s presence will mean to Nike Golf?
We did sign Rory. The announcement was last week. Having Rory on our team elevates the credibility of our products. Rory fits our brand. He’s young. He’s athletic. He’s inspiring. We have the strongest athletic roster in Nike Golf’s history, and we are very proud of that.