Editors' pick: Originally published Oct. 3.Call it a Cinderella story: out of nowhere, a former fictional greens keeper is now about to become the master clothier for millions of Americans who love golf and cherish "Caddyshack," a comic cinematic masterpiece.
Yes, it's Bill Murray's world; we're all just living in it. And if the Murray family has its way, you'll soon be wearing his clothes walking down the 18th fairway at your favorite golf course.
Murray's new golf clothing line, William Murray Golf is billed as the place "where golf meets irreverence & fun inspires style," according to his website. "It's the perfect style on or off the course, straight from the mind of the world's most irreverent golfer, Bill Murray."
Grab a $75, custom-made Chicago Cubs short-sleeve golf shirt (the Cubs are native-Chicagoan Murray's favorite ball club.) Or, how about a gray "William Murray Hat" for $32. "Trust us, your dome never felt so good," the site says.
A more complete catalog Murray's own golf polos, button-ups, golf shorts, hats and T-shirts is coming in fall 2016.
"All of us Murray brothers grew up caddying, so we have a true passion and respect for the game," says Joel Murray, Bill's brother and co-founder of the clothing line. "Regarding the current on-the-course looks, what the players were wearing in the '70s were much more interesting than most of what you see out there today. With William Murray Golf, we're looking for that perfect combination of style, humor and subtle irreverence as a way to make things more laid back, relatable and fun."
Can Bill Murray succeed where other golf retailers have failed? Marketing experts think so.
"Bill Murray's status actually adds the right smirk appeal to the line," says Rachel Weingarten, a marketing and branding specialist in New York. "After all, you may not be Tiger Woods, and wearing clothing branded by the Caddyshack guy tells the world -- or your clients, or your golf buddies -- that you appreciate the fact that you may never play a perfect game, but you intend to enjoy the process."
"Hey, I'd wear something by Bill Murray to golf and brag about it," Weingarten adds. "It's the anti-old boy's network fashion statement in a sport that's been traditionally exclusionary and moneyed. This might just be a brand worth watching."
Murray's brand is so popular among the golfing population that his clothing line has a legitimate shot at being a big hit, golf experts say. "Bill Murray has such a following that anything he does will be successful, says Rico Coville, general manager at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, W.Va. "My friends would buy his clothes as they would rather stand out on the golf course than blend in."
"Honestly, any line of clothing he does would be a success," Coville adds. "I've seen his face on T-shirts many times."
Other golf industry observers say that the Murray's are tracking a trend in offbeat, even outrageous golf clothing in recent years.
"Bill Murray has a huge following among golfers due to his enthusiasm, humor and perhaps style," says Dan Shube, a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America, and host of the "Golf and Travel Show" radio program. "While I personally prefer a more conservative look at the country club, Loudmouth Golf has been extremely successful in gaining market share with their ridiculous clothing designs. Puma has also attracted many fans, especially the younger ones, with their bright colors sported by (professional golfer) Ricky Fowler. Kids line the fairways at tournaments, on Sunday, wearing Ricky's trademark bright orange."
"So, while I might not be willing to dress like Bill Murray, I have no doubt that enough people would and that this line will have an excellent chance to succeed," Shube states.
The demographic that might appreciate this line of clothing are at least over 50 years old and appreciate the humor and style of Bill Murray, states Deborah Y. Cohn,
associate professor of marketing at the New York Institute of Technology. "However, in reading about the new line of clothes, I see that Bill Murray wants to attract younger consumers," she says. "But do younger consumers even know who he is?"
Right now, though, the Murray line of golf fashion ware is already creating a viral buzz among the 40-and-over demographic, which is right in the Bill Murray wheelhouse.
That alone could make the clothing line a winner, and spur the "Caddyshack" legend on to greater heights.