Tiger Woods has not put his game on display
for over a year and his last PGA Tour win was
in August of 2013. The 40-year-old Woods will
return to play in the Safeway Open, October 13-
16, but Nike, who’s clubs he has played since
2002 is getting out, out of the club, bag and ball
business to concentrate on shoes and apparel.
Tiger and Nike, inseparable in the minds of
many, have had an amazing run together.
Woods currently has 79 Tour wins, including
14 majors, and ranks second all-time in both
categories. Nike though, was never able to
come up with a category-defining club, in spite
of having Tom Stites, one of the most respected
club designers in the business, on their payroll.
With Woods, under the most lucrative contract
in golf, however, they became the number one
golf apparel brand in sports.
Woods and other Nike staff members, most
notably Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie, will
continue to wear their Nike Swoosh apparel.
Golfers just won’t be able to purchase Nike
clubs, balls or equipment.
The overall effect the Nike withdrawal from the
retail market is uncertain but a good estimate
is it probably won’t be very large. The golf
division never had more than $800 million in
total sales ($706 million in 2015), although
actual club sales are unknown. The company
was never able to approach a 10% market
share in hard goods.
The contention that Nike’s problems stem from
the fact that Woods has not been playing is
incorrect. Nike did not have market leadership
or even contend for leadership, when Woods
was at his best. His presence onTour alone never
generated the amount of business Nike needed
to dominate the equipment sector, although he
did help push soft goods to the number one spot.
Golf for Nike was a tiny part of their overall
business, less than two percent, and several
factors virtually preordained their decision.
The small market share, plus an industry
where product lifecycles are measured often
in months with relatively large development
costs meant staying just didn’t make sense. It
became obvious golf equipment had to go.
The biggest impact could be seen by competing
shoe and apparel brands FootJoy, Adidas and
Under Armour. Adidas, like Nike, is also selling
Tiger’s In – Nike’s Out
NWO Golf Links