DETROIT -- Luxury auto brands are renewing their golf marketing battles this weekend at the U.S. Open Championship in Bethesda, Md.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s luxury brand, Lexus, announced this week it is sponsoring 23-year-old golfer Jason Day.
Day, who in 2007 became the youngest person to win a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, joins a roster of Lexus-sponsored golfers that includes Nick Watney, Charles Howell III, Peter Jacobsen, Mark O'Meara, Raymond Floyd and Johnny Miller.
Day and Watney will tee off against such fellow auto-sponsored competitors as Jaguar-endorsed Lee Westwood (ranked second in the world) and Ian Poulter and BMW-backed Martin Kaymer (ranked third globally) and Alvaro Quiros.
PGA events and pro golfers traditionally have been marketing targets for luxury automakers and brands, but since 2008 the recession has curtailed those relationships.
In 2003, there were 11 automotive title-sponsored PGA events, according to ESPN. This year, there are only four.
Cadillac, the only GM brand currently involved in golf, will be one of those four. Although Cadillac isn't sponsoring individual golfers this year, in March it sponsored the 2011 Doral Open, renamed the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, in Miami,.
This year's three other automotive title-sponsored PGA events:
- Hyundai Tournament of Champions Kapalua, Hawaii, held in January.
- Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., held in March.
- BMW Championship in Lemont, Ill., to be held Sept. 15-18.