Tiger Woods breaks his silence on Nike 'split' rumors
Tiger Woods breaks his silence on Nike ‘split’ rumors and appears to hint at a potential resolution – as he insists ‘I’m still wearing their product’ amid reports $500m deal could be ending
- Tiger Woods headed out onto the golf course on Saturday with his two children
- He was wearing Nike, but there are reports the partnership could come to an end
- READ MORE: Inside Tiger Woods’ insane body transformation at age of 47
Tiger Woods has spoken out for the first time amid rumors his long-running deal with Nike could be coming to an end.
According to a recent report, this weekend’s PNC Championship is potentially Woods’ final tournament wearing the brand, after a lucrative 27-year partnership has seen him rake in around $500m.
And after his first round alongside son Charlie, 13, and daughter Sam, 16, the 15-time major winner was asked about the rumored difficulties.
‘I’m still wearing their product,’ was his response when asked to give clarity on the situation with the sportswear company, before he was asked ‘is this the end of it coming up?’
Once again, Woods repeated his previous answer, telling reporters: ‘I’m still wearing their product.’
Tiger Woods wore Nike on Saturday as he played at the PNC Championship with son Charlie
There have been rumors that Woods, pictured with daughter Sam, could stop wearing Nike
The golfing great has worn the iconic Swoosh since 1996. Pictured winning the 1997 Masters
During the first round, Woods, 47, had the swoosh on his clothes, but his son Charlie – playing alongside him – noticeably did not.
The golf icon first started wearing Nike when he was just 20, and the company has provided his iconic Sunday red looks and gifted fans with legendary commercials.
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.
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
‘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.
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.
Woods broke his silence about reports his and Nike’s successful 27-year partnership could end
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.
If they do split, Woods wouldn’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.
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