Tiger Woods is not only the face of Nike’s golf business, but he has been synonymous with the brand through every major moment of his career, from his triumphs at Augusta to his unprecedented dominance at St. Andrews and beyond.
That could all be changing soon.
While specific contract details have never been made public, Nike is believed to have paid Woods hundreds of millions of dollars since signing the superstar in 1996, when he was just 20 years old. But now, as the 47-year-old Woods approaches the twilight of his playing career, a surprising report is suggesting that he could split with Nike as early as this month.
On Monday, the “No Laying Up” golf podcast – which in the past has provided early insight into major shake-ups in pro golf, such as defections from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf – reported that next week’s PNC Championship could be Woods’s last tournament wearing the Swoosh.
NLU also reported similar rumblings about other Nike golf athletes — a roster that includes Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and Scottie Scheffler — based on the idea that an existing golf equipment manufacturer is potentially creating an apparel brand. Since Nike stopped manufacturing clubs in 2016, Wood has used clubs from TaylorMade, which sells some golf apparel but doesn’t have as vast a collection as Nike.
Since returning from ankle surgery in 2022, Woods has notably played golf tournaments wearing FootJoy shoes.
Woods leaving Nike would be a major brand shift – but we’re not in uncharted territory. A few massive movements of the past:
- Messi leaving Nike for Adidas in 2005
- Kobe Bryant switching from Adidas to have his own line with Nike
- Simone Biles moving from Nike to new-age brand Athleta
Woods will likely be made available to the media during next week’s PNC Championship, a father/son event on the PGA Tour, where he is almost certain to be asked about his future with Nike, given the report.