Just undo it: Tiger, Nike end 27-year partnership

Tiger Woods announced Monday that his longtime partnership with Nike has ended after 27 years, closing one of the most iconic brand relationships in professional sports history.

From the moment Woods turned pro in August 1996, he was decked in Nike swooshes from head to toe. The partnership included 15 major championship victories, 82 PGA Tour wins, and numerous comebacks from injuries and personal setbacks.

Over more than a quarter-century, Woods’ traditional Sunday attire of a red Nike shirt, black hat and black pants became synonymous with men’s professional golf.

“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world,” Woods said in a statement posted to his X account. “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.”

In the statement, Woods, 48, didn’t say what apparel brands he planned to wear in future events. He has been wearing FootJoy golf shoes since returning to competition from injuries he suffered in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021.

Woods seemed to indicate in his statement that he planned to play in the Genesis at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades (part of Los Angeles) Feb. 15-18, a tournament he hosts and that benefits his foundation.

“People will ask if there is another chapter,” Woods wrote. “Yes, there will certainly be another chapter. See you in LA!”

After Woods turned pro following a record-breaking playing career at Stanford, he signed endorsement deals with Nike and Titleist. The multiyear contract with Nike was reportedly worth $40 million, which was the richest endorsement deal for a professional athlete in history at the time.

When Woods showed up at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open for his first PGA Tour event as a pro, he told reporters, “I guess, hello world, huh?” Two days later, Nike launched a “Hello, World” campaign, in which Woods and his father, Earl, appeared in TV commercials. Nike created a line of golf apparel and shoes branded with Woods’ name and logo.

Woods and Nike renewed their contract three times during his playing career. He signed a 10-year extension with the apparel giant in 2013, which was worth about $200 million, according to The Oregonian. He used Nike clubs and golf balls until the Oregon-based company closed its golf line in 2016. He has been using TaylorMade clubs and Bridgestone balls since then.

“Tiger, you challenged your competition, stereotypes, conventions, the old school way of thinking,” Nike said in a statement on Instagram. “You challenged the entire institution of golf. You challenged us. And most of all, yourself. And for that challenge we’re grateful.”

In December, Nike announced it planned to cut $2 billion in costs over the next three years, which would include layoffs of hundreds of employees.

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