Nike, which has huge endorsement deals with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy among others, dropped a bombshell when it announced that it is getting out of the golf equipment business.
The company said it will concentrate on the golf footwear and apparel business, but that it will transition out of making clubs, golf balls and bags.
“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” said Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”
Woods signed with Nike when he turned pro in 1996 as a rookie out of Stanford and helped what had been primarily an athletic shoe and apparel business one of the top golf equipment companies in the world.
That initial contract was worth a reported $40 million over five years and the partnership has been one of the most lucrative in sports. Woods worked closely with Nike over the years on developing equipment and signed his latest deal with the company in 2013.
“He’s been the most loyal ambassador and longest standing for Nike Golf; that doesn’t change,” said Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent. “It just means he’ll likely have some different equipment in the bag, whether that’s tomorrow, next month or a year from now.
“Tiger and I have been talking about this the last couple of days. We have a very sophisticated, legitimate plan in place and we’re going to see it through.”
McIlroy left Titleist late in 2012 and signed a deal with Nike reported to be worth at least $250 million over five years after he had become No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings.
Others who play Nike equipment include Brooks Koepka, Michelle Wie, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Paul Casey of England, Nick Watney, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela, Tony Finau and Thorbjorn Olesen of Norway