Tiger Woods and Nike’s long-time, successful partnership could be coming to an end, according to a report.
The sportswear giant has been with the 15-time major winner throughout every milestone of his career from five wins at Augusta to his emotional walk up the 18th at St. Andrews last year.
But the brand, which has sponsored the 47-year-old since 1996 when he was just 20, could be set to split with him as early as this month, according to the No Laying Up podcast.
The PNC Championship, where Woods is set to compete alongside son Charlie, 14, for a fourth time next week, reportedly could be the golfing great’s final tournament wearing the infamous ‘swoosh’.
Woods has pocketed a reported $500million over 27 years from wearing Nike, which has provided his iconic Sunday red looks and gifted fans with legendary commercials.
Tiger Woods and Nike’s long-time, successful partnership could be coming to an end
The golfing great has worn the iconic Swoosh since 1996. Pictured winning the 1997 Masters
However, there have been rumblings the golfer and the company could part ways since Woods’ miraculous comeback last year after his horror 2021 car crash.
Woods raised eyebrows when he rocked up at Augusta National in April 2022 to make his return to the course since the single-car accident, which almost cost him his leg, in a pair of FootJoy golf shoes, instead of his usual Nike.
He explained his footwear choice to the media, saying: ‘I have very limited mobility now. Just with the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg, I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable. That’s what I’ve gone to.’
Nike backed up Woods’ decision with a press release that read: ‘Like golf fans around the world, we are delighted to see Tiger back on the course.
‘He is an incredible athlete, and it is phenomenal to see him returning to the game at this level. His story continues to transcend sport and inspire us all. As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs.’
Woods also wore FootJoys at the Masters again this year and at the Hero World Challenge last week but it appears the rift is now expanding beyond shoes.
The sportswear giant has provided the 15-time major winner with his iconic Sunday red looks
Woods raised eyebrows when he rocked up at Augusta National in April 2022 in FootJoys
But, despite speculation, the move doesn’t appear to harbor any bitter feelings but is rather a business decision.
According to No Laying Up, Nike is said to be considering a move to shut down its golf division. Nike stopped making golf equipment in 2016 and has only sold apparel since.
Other brand ambassadors, including Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Brook Koepka reportedly could also leave Nike for good.
Nike’s closure of its golf division would bring down the curtain on a 40-year stint of making apparel and equipment for the sport.
After Nike stopped manufacturing equipment, Woods turned to TaylorMade, which does have an apparel section, albeit limited.
Other brand ambassadors, including Rory McIlroy (right), reportedly could also leave Nike
Woods’ first contract with Nike in 1996 was reportedly worth $40m over five years, followed by an estimated $100m contract signed in 2001 over another five years, according to ESPN.
He penned another eight-year deal in 2006 for an estimated $20-40 million annually, which was extended in 2013 for an undisclosed sum, according to Forbes. It is believed his current deal is worth $200m.
Woods won’t be the first leading athlete to part ways with Nike following a profitable partnership.
Soccer star Lionel Messi left Nike for Adidas in 2005, Kobe Bryant did the reverse switch Adidas for his own lune with Nike, and Simone Biles left the sportswear giant for Athleta.