In yet another very strange week in the world of professional golf we saw the end of one of the most decorated partnerships in the game – Tiger Woods and Nike.
With the heads of the DP World Tour and the R&A, Keith Pelley and Martin Slumbers, set to step aside later this year it was announced that Woods and Nike will go their separate ways after 27 years together. Woods signed with the sporting giant when he turned pro in 1996 in a five-year deal that was worth $40m.
The following year he won the Masters. Nike reportedly brought in $300m in the next two years.
By the 2001 Masters he had possession of all four Major titles. His last contract with Nike was a 10-year deal in 2013 that was worth a reported $200m. That year research showed that between 2000 (the year Woods started using their balls) and 2010 the company recovered 57 per cent of its then $181m investment in Woods in sales of balls in the US alone.
Some/much of that will have been down to the chip-in at Augusta in 2005 which, unscripted, might be the best sporting piece of advertising ever as he won his fourth Green Jacket. Then there was THAT putt across Torrey Pines' bobbly 18th green in 2008 and, 11 years later, his next Major victory at the 2019 Masters.
During his scandals, where other companies cut their ties with Woods, Nike stuck with him. In 2016 the company stopped selling clubs, bags and balls and focused their attentions on shoes and clothing but, in recent times, Woods has been seen in FootJoy shoes which supposedly better suited his problems with his feet.
All of his professional wins, all 110 of them, have come in the famous red polo shirt of various shades and descriptions and, wherever he does go, that Sunday red theme will continue. As for the reason behind the red that is tw-fold.
"I've worn red ever since my college days basically, or junior golf days — big events on the last day. I just stuck with it out of superstition, and it worked. I just happened to choose a school that actually was red, and we wore red on our final day of events. So it worked out."
The second reason is closer to home.
"I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that is my power colour. You know, you should always listen to your mom."
A Nike statement read: "It was a hell of a round, Tiger. Tiger, you challenged your competition, stereotypes, conventions, the old school way of thinking. You challenged the entire institution of golf. You challenged us. And most of all, yourself. And for that challenge we're grateful."
Woods was similarly heartfelt as he said goodbye to the Swoosh.
"Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world. The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I started naming them, I could go on forever.
"(Former Nike CEO) Phil Knight's passion and vision brought this Nike and Nike Golf partnership together and I want to personally thank him, along with the Nike employees and incredible athletes I have had the pleasure of working with along the way. People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will certainly be another chapter. See you in LA! Tiger."