'It was a hell of a round!' is the greeting that the American sportswear giant wanted to reserve for Tiger Woods. The 15-time major champion had in fact announced his separation from Nike a few days ago in a post on social media.
Woods has been a brand ambassador since 1996 when, as a 20-year-old, he signed a five-year, $40 million contract after turning pro in what was the start of one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in sports history. Turning 48 on December 30, Woods, who returned to competition at the end of November after a seven-month injury, concluded his statement with: "See you in Los Angeles!", which suggests he may unveil a new sponsor when he plays in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in mid-February.
“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world,” Woods wrote on X. “The next few days were filled with so many wonderful moments and memories, if I started naming them I could go on forever”.
“Phil Knight's passion and vision brought this partnership between Nike and Nike Golf together, and I want to thank him personally, along with the Nike employees and incredible athletes I've had the pleasure of working with along the way”.
“People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will definitely be another chapter. See you in Los Angeles!” The lucrative sponsorship proved to be a mutually beneficial partnership, with the famous swoosh synonymous with Woods' greatest victories in his traditional Sunday red.
Woods turned pro in August 1996, with Nike and Titleist among the first partners to secure major endorsement deals. He won his first major at Augusta in the spring of 1997 and remains the most famous golfer on earth.. This is also demonstrated by the commercials featuring him as the protagonist.
Considered by many to be the best golfer of all time, as well as the best of the modern era, in his twenty-year career he won 110 professional tournaments, including 15 majors, making him the most successful player in the history; he held the top position in the OWG world rankings for a total of 683 weeks, of which 281 were consecutive (from June 12, 2005 to October 30, 2010), and is the only golfer to have won all four majors of the modern era within a single year (between 2000 and 2001).