Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods ends 27-year relationship with Nike, thanks founder Phil Knight

user avatar Author: Editors Desk, Lorenzo Reyes Source: USA Today
January 8, 2024 at 12:50

That is all coming to an end.

In men's golf, over the last quarter-century, there has been one constant in the arms race in apparel and brand recognition: megastar Tiger Woods and his long-standing relationship with Nike.

That is all coming to an end.

On social media Monday morning, Woods announced the end of a 27-year relationship with Nike, thanking the company's founder Phil Knight and hinting to a potential future announcement in Los Angeles.

"Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world," Woods said Monday in a statement. "The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I started naming them, I could go on forever. Phil Knight’s passion and vision brought this Nike and Nike Golf partnership together and I want to personally thank him, along with the Nike employees and incredible athletes I have had the pleasure of working with along the way. People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will certainly be another chapter. See you in LA!"

   

Woods had been non-committal in mid-December about a possible split with the brand, answering "I’m still wearing their product" to a pair of questions posed at a news conference during the recent PNC Championship.

Woods' split with Nike leaves a massive void in the market; he had been a brand ambassador for Nike since 1996, when he was 20 years old. Then, upon turning pro, Woods signed a five-year, $40 million contract with Nike after his standout run as an amateur.

At the time of the deal, Knight lauded Woods as a generational, game-changing athlete.

"The world has not seen anything like what he’s going to do for the sport," Knight said at the time. "It’s almost art. I wasn’t alive to see Claude Monet paint, but I am alive to see Tiger play, and that’s pretty great."
 

Tiger Woods began a partnership with Nike when he was 20.
Caption


With Woods as the face of its golf line, Nike's growth exploded, becoming a leading global brand in golf apparel behind the popularity of Woods' spikeless shoes. Nike also designed a series of clubs that Woods used, though the company stopped manufacturing clubs and golf balls in 2016.

In recent seasons, Woods has played with TaylorMade clubs, Bridgestone golf balls and, for almost two years, he has worn FootJoy shoes while on the course. Despite that, Woods has continued to wear Nike clothing while playing.

Woods, 48, may return to competitive golf at the Genesis Invitational, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 15 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. He's the tournament host at the event and Woods had said he plans to play in one event each month.

Contributing: Adam Woodard and Adam Schupak, Golfweek


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