Tiger Woods ends 27-year relationship with Nike, hints at return to play at Genesis Invitational
Tiger Woods did little to dispel rumors that his longtime relationship with Nike could be nearing an end at the recent PNC Championship.
“I’m still wearing their product,” Woods said when asked to clarify his relationship with the brand.
On Monday the 15-time major champion took to social media to announce the end of his 27-year relationship with Nike and to thank founder Phil Knight.
“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world. The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I started naming them, I could go on forever,” Woods wrote. “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 is the tournament host of the upcoming Genesis Invitational, Feb. 15-18, at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, a west Los Angeles neighborhood. The 82-time winner on Tour previously said he wished to play one event a month.
Woods has been a brand ambassador for Nike since 1996 when he was 20 years old. Knight signed Woods to a five-year, $40 million deal when he turned pro following his third consecutive win at the U.S. Amateur, and said of Woods at the time, “The world has not seen anything like what he’s going to do for the sport. 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.”
Nike Golf apparel became a leading brand thanks to Woods and its spikeless footwear grew in popularity. Its equipment division, however, never took off and stopped producing clubs and balls in 2016. Woods has been using TaylorMade clubs and Bridgestone golf balls in recent years. For nearly two years, he’s been wearing golf shoes made by FootJoy. TaylorMade, which formerly was owned by Adidas, has hinted on its website that it intends to step up its involvement in the apparel space starting next year.
Several of its club endorsers – from Rory McIlroy to Scottie Scheffler – also wear Nike Golf clothing when they play, although Jason Day no longer does, as he started the year in new gear from Malbon.
Source: Golf Week