‘Another chapter’: Tiger Woods’ Nike partnership ends with cryptic announcement

tiger woods wearing sunday red attire hits shot at pnc championship

Tiger Woods' cryptic Nike announcement set the golf world ablaze on Monday morning.

Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann

The most famous sponsorship in professional golf history is over.

On Monday morning, Tiger Woods announced the end of his partnership with Nike, ending a 27-year pact that turned Woods into a sporting icon and Nike into one of the biggest brands in pro golf.

The announcement, which was later confirmed to by Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg, ends weeks of speculation regarding the 15-time major champ and his long-time equipment and apparel partners.

“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world,” Woods wrote wistfully in the release shared on his social media handles Monday morning. “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.”

Nike has been the subject of rumors alleging it is stepping away from the golf business in recent months, and the Woods announcement is its most high-profile step in that direction to date. At last month’s PNC Championship, Woods deadpanned questions regarding his future with Nike, offering only that he was “still wearing their product.”

After the news broke on Monday afternoon, the retail giant shared a statement thanking Woods for nearly three decades of success.

“For over 27 years, we have had the honor to partner with Tiger Woods, one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen,” the statement read. “Throughout the course of our partnership, we have witnessed along with the rest of the world, how Tiger not only redefined the sport of golf, but broke barriers for all of sport. We watched him set records, challenge conventional thinking and inspire generations of people around the globe. We are grateful to have been a part of it. We wish him the best in the future.”

The news raises larger questions about the state of Nike’s golf business, which maintains sponsorships with high-profile players like Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler and Nelly Korda. The retail giant’s overall business has struggled as of late, resulting in sagging sales outlooks and tumbling stock prices. In an earnings call two weeks ago, Nike executives outlined a plan to slash some $2 billion in costs over the next three years, a decision that some have speculated could negatively impact the company’s golf business.

The news makes Woods, 48, a gear free agent for the second time in his playing career. His first free agent frenzy came in 2017, after Nike left the golf club business, and resulted in a multi-year equipment deal with TaylorMade and a multi-year ball deal with Bridgestone. In his statement, Woods hinted cryptically that his apparel future could already be decided — and would be announced as soon as the Genesis Invitational in mid-February, where he is expected to make his first start of the 2024 season.

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

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