This is a tough subject to write about because it's taboo.
A good friend of mine was newly sponsored by a cuemaker in the 90s. At the time, he had become a recent top pro and was making a name for himself across the USA.
He was offered a GREAT deal on a cue sponsorship (his first big, true sponsorship). That usually entails photo-shoots for magazines and monetarily, they get a percentage of your winnings as they help pay for part of the trips to big tournaments and entry fee costs (as I recall). And for this particular sponsorship, a cue was designed by him and made especially for him. How exciting!
But the crazy part of this story that I DO recall vividly, is my friend absolutely loved the cue he was already and currently shooting with. And the custom cuemaker was well known for making extremely solid cues.
The pro got his new (sponsored) cue and tried it out. But, after playing with it a little bit (few months), he noticed a remarkable difference. So.... he asked his custom cuemaker if he would make an exact replica of his new cue. Since the previous cue felt more comfortable and solid, and because he could control the cue ball better with it, the pro knew it would help him out better in his tournaments to have that cue he was already used to. So, he gave the design specs of the new sponsored cue to the custom cuemaker and he made him a cue with the exact same design. And that's the cue he ended up playing with in his tournaments.
No one knew.
Don't get me wrong, he really did LOVE the cues of his sponsors, but his previous custom cuemaker just made more a solid cue and the pro was accustomed to it. And as we all do, we think of what is best for winning and so he came up with that idea (I presume it was his idea and wasn't something that was done often?)
Just like golfers and their golf clubs, pool cues are the life and blood of our profession.
As I type this out I am having an extremely uneasy feeling about sharing this, though. Should I really post such an indiscretion?
But, I am sure there are celebrities drinking Pepsi who endorse Coca Cola. Or, are driving their new sponsored Mercedes, but really love with Audi. Or, promoting a certain brand of shoes, but really love Nike (as examples).
But to really consider he had an exact replica made so he could still be shooting with his beloved cuemkaer's cues proves why that particular custom cuemakers' waiting list was so long.
Maybe this occurs a lot and I don't know it? Still, something "interesting," huh?
Don't even ask me who the cuemaker, sponsor, or pro was - I wont tell you.