With speculation surrounding Tiger Woods’ future with Nike, we look back on the 15-time major champion’s time with the famous brand…
Tiger Woods has been with Nike for roughly the same period I’ve been on Earth.
My grandparents, and some of my colleagues, will tell me that’s not a long time.
But it is, and since 1996, Woods and Nike have become one of the most famous athlete-brand establishments in all of sports, along with NBA icon Michael Jordan.
On January 8, Woods and Nike both officially announced the split with social media posts that could bring a tear to your eye.
So, what have been the highlights of the flourishing Woods-Nike partnership, and which players have joined him along the way?
How has the story blossomed since Woods turned professional in 1996?
Tiger Woods Nike timeline
Woods signed with Nike for the first time in 1996 for five years in a deal reportedly worth $40 million.
Just months after signing with the Swoosh, the young American won the Las Vegas Invitational and the Walt Disney World Golf Classic on the PGA Tour.
This coincided with the famous ‘Hello World’ television advert which has forever been remembered by golf fans.
These were the words Woods uttered in his first press conference.
A 21-year-old Woods blew the field away at Augusta National in 1997 to win the Masters by 12 shots.
His winning shirt went on to be mass-produced, and suddenly Woods’ relationship with Nike was becoming a match made in heaven.
Two years after winning his first major, Woods took part in another popular commercial that shows him doing keep-ups with a golf club.
The “hackey-sacking” video was allegedly not planned as the director spotted Woods juggling the golf ball off camera, so the focus turned to this and that is how the advert was born.
At the turn of the millennium, Woods cut ties with the Titleist golf ball and switched to Nike, namely the solid-core Tour Accuracy golf ball.
After this switch, Woods won the next four major championships and set upon the path to greatness.
Woods agreed on a monumental new deal with Nike in 2001 which was worth a reported figure of $100 million.
Nike created a new golf ball named after the new sprightly superstar called the Tour Accuracy TW which began to be sold in golf shops.
Nike manufactured clubs and made them available for retail for the first time in 2002. Woods put a new driver and a set of irons and wedges into play.
Woods gave Nike one of its greatest moments at the 2005 Masters.
He struck golf’s greatest chip which trickled down to the hole on the par-3 16th at Augusta National, taking a couple of seconds for the Nike Swoosh to disappear into the cup.
This was also the same year Nike signed Michelle Wie West as a 16-year-old.
2006 was the year of Woods’ second renewal with Nike, 10 years after beginning his association with the brand.
Woods won the US Open at Torrey Pines in a playoff against Rocco Mediate in 2008, dramatically securing his 14th major title.
This was the same year Nike released the Tiger Woods Platinum apparel collection.
Rory McIlroy signed a mammoth decade-long deal with Nike in 2013 worth $200 million.
Woods also extended his deal as well, and the pair took part in a very fun advert many will remember for its catchphrase ‘No Cup is Safe’.
In June, Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg said he was confident Woods would be with Nike for the rest of his career.
Although Nike shut down its golf equipment rollout in 2016, Woods continued the partnership which was now 20 years old.
Quite surprisingly, Woods wore a pair of FootJoy golf shoes at the 2022 Masters, instead of his usual selection of Nikes. Nike addressed this at the time:
“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.”
Wood also addressed the subject during the week at Augusta:
“Nike’s been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment and work, and we have worked, we’ve been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again.
“We’re still going to continue doing it, and hopefully, we’ll have something soon.”
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