Era Over? Woods Said To Split From Nike After Decades Together

Tiger Woods has been the face of Nike’s golf division since 1996 when the sportswear giant signed him as a 20-year-old amateur phenom. But a new report suggests Woods and Nike could be parting ways as early as next week, ending their nearly 30-year partnership.

The “No Laying Up” golf podcast, which has previously broken news about major changes in professional golf, said Monday that the PNC Championship in Orlando from December 17-18 could be Woods’ last tournament wearing Nike apparel.

NLU also reported “similar rumblings” about other top Nike-sponsored golfers potentially leaving for a new golf apparel brand being launched by an existing equipment maker.

Woods has notably worn FootJoy shoes rather than Nikes since returning from ankle surgery in 2022. Nike exited the golf equipment business in 2016.

If Woods does leave Nike, it would be rare but not unprecedented for an icon so closely tied to one brand. Sporting legends Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant made surprise moves in the past, with Messi signing with Adidas over Nike in 2006 and Bryant launching his own Nike sub-brand after years with Adidas. In 2021, gymnast Simone Biles left longtime sponsor Nike for women’s activewear brand Athleta.

Woods, 47, is nearing the end of his legendary playing career, which could factor into any split from Nike after decades together.

The company is believed to have paid him hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of their partnership.

Woods will likely face questions about his Nike future at the PNC Championship, where he is playing with his son Charlie in the annual family tournament. Any confirmation that the most recognizable name in golf is leaving its most high-profile brand would register as an earth-shaking move in the sports marketing world.