Tiger Woods has parted ways with Nike after a partnership that lasted 27 years. The golfing legend expressed gratitude to Nike co-founder Phil Knight for the "passion and vision" that brought them together. Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, confirmed the end of the deal, stating that it was time for the next chapter. Nike also acknowledged the partnership's end with a social media post, expressing gratitude for Woods' challenges to conventions and the institution of golf.
Woods initially signed a five-year deal worth $40 million with Nike in 1996 when he turned professional. This deal was later renewed for over $100 million in 2000. Woods became the face of Nike Golf and had his own "TW" brand. Throughout his career, Woods achieved numerous records, including being the youngest player to win the Grand Slam at age 24, holding all four major titles simultaneously, and winning the U.S. Open with a 15-shot margin, the largest in golf history.
However, signs of a strained relationship between Woods and Nike emerged in recent years. Woods chose to wear FootJoy shoes after his car crash in February 2021, citing better comfort for his injuries. Despite this, Woods continued to wear Nike apparel until the PNC Championship last month.
Woods has been an iconic figure for Nike, delivering unforgettable moments for the brand, such as his famous pitch at the 2005 Masters. Nike acknowledged Woods' impact on the sport and expressed gratitude for being a part of his journey. Woods has 15 major victories and 82 career PGA Tour victories, tying with Sam Snead. However, he has faced setbacks due to injuries and personal issues.
Nike has also made changes to its golf business, exiting the hard goods sector in 2016. Despite this, the company still has a roster of golfers wearing its apparel. Woods is optimistic about his future in golf and has indicated that there will be another chapter. His agent is working on a new deal, and an announcement is expected at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles next month.
Overall, the end of the Nike partnership raises questions about the future of both Woods and Nike in the sport of golf. Fans will have to wait and see what the next chapter holds for Woods and which brand he will align himself with moving forward.