Ping has announced the signing of South African teenager Wilco Nienaber on a multi-year hardware and apparel agreement ahead of his professional debut at the Challenge Tour’s Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France this week.
Nienaber, 19, who was the top-ranked South African amateur golfer, is the reigning South African Amateur champion, and is well-known for his extraordinarily long hitting.
As part of the multi-year agreement, Nienaber will play 14 Ping clubs. He will also wear Ping apparel, display a Ping logo on his cap, and use a Ping Tour staff bag.
Commenting on the agreement, John K. Solheim, Ping President, said: “We are thrilled that Wilco is joining the Ping staff. We’ve worked together through his amateur career and he fits in well with our approach of building relationships with the top young players from around the world. He has immense talent, especially off the tee, and we look forward to making the transition with him into the professional game.”
Nienaber climbed to the top of the amateur rankings in South Africa on the back of a stellar 2017, when he won 11 times, including three international events. In 2018, the teenager won four times and represented South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships (Eisenhower Trophy) – despite a limited playing schedule in order to complete his education at Grey College in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He was also the leading qualifier at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links in the strokeplay portion of the Amateur Championship that year, just weeks after losing a playoff for the Brabazon Trophy at Frilford Heath.
Earlier this year, Nienaber rallied to turn a 13-stroke deficit with 27 holes to play into a three-stroke victory in the Gauteng North Open, courtesy of a 10-under-par final round of 62. He followed this up with a win in the South African Amateur Championship at King David Mowbray Golf Club. He also made the cut and finished in a tie for 48th as the low amateur at the European Tour’s Qatar Masters in May.
“Joining the Ping staff is a true honour for me,” said Nienaber. “The engineering that goes into designing every club and the custom fitting is something that I have long admired and benefited from as an amateur. Ping equipment gives me the confidence to go out there and play my best golf, and I look forward to working with them as I begin my professional career.”