Tiger Woods will no longer be sponsored by Nike after 27 years, ending the sporting goods giant’s business deal with one of the greatest golfers in history and calling into question the future of both parties in this sport.
Woods thanked Nike co-founder Phil Knight in a social media post for “his passion and vision” that allowed Nike to grow its Nike Golf brand in partnership with Woods.
“Over the past 27 years, I have been fortunate to be able to develop a partnership with one of the biggest sports brands in the world,” Woods wrote. Since that time, I have experienced so many beautiful moments and I have wonderful memories. If I started listing them, then it wouldn’t end. »
Mark Steinberg, his agent at Excel Sports, confirmed the end of the business deal that began in 1996, when Woods became a professional golfer. After eight months on the PGA Tour, he had already won four titles and shattered numerous records by triumphing on the fairways of Augusta National, as part of the Masters Tournament.
“It was time for a new chapter,” Steinberg told the Associated Press. A wonderful journey. An incredible partnership. »
Nike also posted a message on social media, saying: “It’s been quite a ride, Tiger” to accompany a photo.
“Tiger, you shook up the competition, the stereotypes, the conventions, the old way of seeing things,” we could read in Nike’s message. You shook up the entire institution of golf. You challenged us. And above all, you challenged yourself. And for this challenge, we are grateful. »
Woods signed a five-year contract worth US$40 million when he made the jump to the pros. This amount had shaken all the sporting goods manufacturers at the time except Nike, and his father.
“A little change,” his late father Earl Woods once said, and he was right. Woods renewed his deal which would have reached 100 million in 2001. His eight-year pact ratified in 2006 would have brought him 160 million, and his most recent, signed in 2013, would have allowed him to pocket 200 million.
Woods, one of the most famous athletes in the world, has become the face of Nike Golf and has his own brand, TW.