Patrick Brennan gives his thoughts on what will happen now that the 27 year partnership between Tiger Woods and Nike has come to an end
As mentioned in the New Year, it is time for women’s golf to thrive in 2024.
The ending of the legendary partnership between Nike and Tiger Woods, that was announced on Monday, means a page has turned in the sponsorship game, as it looks like Nike will be further annexed from the golfing scene. Whether this is a permanent withdrawal is yet to be confirmed, but leaves an exciting opportunity for other brands to throw their hat in the ring, or to see if Tiger goes off on his own.
Tiger owns the ‘TW’ trademark and this leads to a whole host of possibilities. The reason there is so much potential here is many other golfers represent Nike with their apparel deals, including Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka.
Nelly Korda signed a deal with Nike only a year ago and would be left looking for alternatives (although I’m sure there’d be plenty of offers).
Introducing his own apparel brand?
Tiger could pave the way for his own brand that spans across the PGA and LPGA/LET markets.
We want to see investment in women professionals, as Women & Golf editor Emma put so well last week:
“Investing in women’s golf is not putting products in the hands of female influencers.
I’ll explain – the majority of female golf influencers have a following that is 80 per cent (or higher) male, so would count as marketing to men. It's time to start marketing directly to women golfers.
For deals in the professional game, I believe it should be on ability, not social followers. You will often see brand deals for young male golfers who only have 1000 followers, whilst a woman who is ranked 100th in the world can’t get a club deal with the same number of followers.
I’d love to think that both the 100th and 1000th ranked women players could get deals but it's time to start investing in talent towards the top of the game to really see women’s professional golf rise to a new level.”
Building on this, elite women’s sport is set to generate ten-figure revenues in 2024, and golf can be a pioneering part of this incredible milestone.
If Nike are to fully leave the golf game, that leaves female golfers in the lurch but also opens the door to establish new pathways. If Tiger adopts his own brand using the trademark TW logo, we might see that feature in the LPGA and LET Tours in years to come.
Tiger, TGL and joining forces with the women’s game
Perhaps this is a perfect time for Tiger to refocus in his quest to play more regularly on Tour, as well as gearing up for the TGL in 2025. If he ends this year with his own brand, worn by the best male and female golfers on the planet and a healthy body after a year of competition, the golfing community will be excited for the arrival of the TGL league.
It is in the interest of professional golf to see more transparency and continuity between the men’s and women’s game, especially now we may be teeing it up alongside someone of the opposite gender, due to ‘forward’ and ‘back’ tees rightly replacing the ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ tee terminology of yesteryear. Mixed events go down so well, and I’d eventually like to see a segment of TGL in 2025 that allows for women to join the tech-infused league.
What are your thoughts on Tiger's next brand move? Drop W&G an email.
Meet Patrick Brennan
Patrick is originally from the Lake District, UK but moved to British Columbia, Canada after university. He writes for several media outlets, including Golficity, and has been doing so for over 18 months.
His main writing interests are professional golf tours, the Majors and any good underdog story!
He comes from a sporting family and, when not cycling or skiing, plays off a six handicap - trying and failing to keep the family bragging rights, often due to a streaky driver!