Tiger Woods, Nike end partnership after more than 27 years

Tiger Woods tees off on the 13th hole during the final round of the PNC Championship golf tournament, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski)

Tiger Woods has gone from “Hello, world,” to saying goodbye to Nike. Woods ended months of speculation by making it official Monday that the partnership between golf’s biggest star and the powerful Swoosh brand is ending after 27 years, a move that raises questions about the future of both in the sport.

Woods in a social media post thanked Nike co-founder Phil Knight for his “passion and vision” that brought them together when he turned pro.


“Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world,” Woods wrote. “The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I started naming them, I could go on forever.”

Mark Steinberg, his agent at Excel Sports, confirmed the end of the deal that began in 1996 when Woods turned pro after winning his third straight U.S. Amateur.

“I guess, hello world, huh?” a 20-year-old Woods said at the Greater Milwaukee Open.

Nike launched a “Hello, World” campaign two days later, and Woods lived up to the hype. Within eight months, he already had four wins, including the watershed Masters victory that made him the first golfer of Black heritage to win a major.

“It was time for the next chapter,” Steinberg told The Associated Press. “Amazing run. Great partnership.”

Nike also posted to social media, saying in a photo, “It was a hell of a round, Tiger.”

“Tiger, you challenged your competition, stereotypes, conventions, the old school way of thinking,” the Nike post was captioned. “You challenged the entire institution of golf. You challenged us. And most of all, yourself. And for that challenge we’re grateful.”

Woods signed a five-year deal worth $40 million when he turned pro. It was shocking money at the time to most in the industry except Nike, and his father.

“Chump change,” the late Earl Woods once said, and he was proven correct. Woods renewed the deal believed to be worth over $100 million in 2001. His eight-year deal in 2006 was reported to be $160 million, and his latest deal was signed in 2013 for a reported $200 million.

As recognizable as any athlete in the world, Woods became the face of Nike Golf and had his own “TW” brand.

On the golf course, Woods set records as the youngest to win the Grand Slam at age 24, the only player to hold all four major titles at the same time and his 15-shot win at the U.S. Open, the largest margin for a major in golf history.

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