Callaway Golf Company and Ashworth Inc announced yesterday the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement between the two companies for the creation of a complete line of men's and women's Callaway Golf Apparel.

The companies believe that this strategic alliance represents one of the largest and most significant partnerships in the golf industry.

The new Fall 2002 Men's Callaway Golf Apparel line will debut in selected golf retail pro shops and department stores in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa beginning in early autumn 2002.

Ashworth Inc president and CEO Randy Herrel said: "Ashworth will build a design, development and sales organisation dedicated to the Callaway Golf Apparel brand that is separate from the Ashworth brand."

Callaway Golf and Ashworth Inc. both showed solid revenue growth in the first quarter of 2001. Callaway Golf reported sales of $261m for the quarter, an increase of 32 per cent over the same period in 2000, while Ashworth reported sales of $27.7m, an increase of 23.1 per cent over the first quarter of 2000.