Callaway Golf loses Ernie Els but adds Lydia Ko, Harris English

Stuart Franklin

Callaway’s youth movement includes new contracts with Lydia Ko and Harris English.

Ernie Els may have taken his four-time major championship-winning golf skills from Callaway Golf to Adams, but Phil Mickelson’s favorite equipment supplier has reportedly inked LPGA superstar-to-be Lydia Ko to a contract.

The new head coach of Team Lydia, David Leadbetter, confirmed to Radio Sport New Zealand on Thursday the worst-kept secret in golf in recent weeks -- that the 15-year-old whiz kid will put Callaway gear into play this year. The Kiwi by way of South Korea joins PGA Tour player Harris English as the most recent endorsees of the company, which announced on Monday that three young players had joined its lineup as well.

Meanwhile, free-agent Els’ long-rumored club change is not quite the bombshell that Rory McIlroy dropped when he made his high-profile switch-er-oo from Titleist to Nike to kick off the 2013 season. In a "Happy New Year!" blog post, Els noted that Adams’ hybrid domination on the PGA and European Tours were key to his decision to move on from Callaway after his contract expired at the end of last year.

"It made me curious to try them out for myself," said Els, 44. "Right now we’re working hard to finalize the configuration and exact specs of my set, focusing specifically on the Tight Lies fairway metals and XTD irons and hybrids."

Els, as part of his multi-year deal that includes clubs as well as the company’s logo on his bag, shirt, and cap, will put his new bats in play  later this month at the Qatar Masters.

The 24-year-old Harris, for his part, won twice on the PGA Tour last year.

"I’ve been really happy with the new Callaway clubs," the four-time All American from the University of Georgia said in a statement. "In a short period of time I’ve been able to take advantage of the resources they have and I’m excited about the start of the 2014 season."

English will play Callaway and Odyssey equipment starting this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Callaway officials have yet to announce officially that Ko has joined the Carlsbad crew.

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