Though the signs were certainly there that the iconic partnership between Tiger Woods and Nike was coming to a close, it’s still somewhat shocking to see the golfer and the sports brand part ways.
Woods was arguably synonymous with Nike, and it’s simply hard to imagine Tiger out on the golf course competing without the patented swoosh across his chest. However, as Nike has slowly but surely made their way out of the golf industry, this move might act as their last cutting of ties with the sport.
Nike took to their social media to make the news official, leaving a heartfelt message below a picture of a young Woods in his famous Sunday Red:
“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.”
Tiger also put out a statement about his partnership with Nike coming to an end while also teasing that there’s “another chapter” on the way:
“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.
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.”
It’s truly an end of an era, and as a fan of the game of golf, I’ve got to admit that I’m a little saddened by it.
However, instead of wallowing in my weird sadness caused by a man I’ve never met choosing to not wear a certain shirt anymore, I’ll instead turn the attention to some of Nike’s greatest commercials with Tiger Woods.
“Golf’s Not Hard”
This series of commercials are probably my favorite of all that Nike has ever done, only because they might be the most hilarious sports commercials that have ever been created.
The ads feature a young Tiger Woods giving lessons to everyday golfers about how golf isn’t that hard, even though the stuff he describes, instructs on, and does in the series of commercials are some of the more complex and difficult things in all of professional golf.
“No Cup Is Safe”
With this one, there’s a little bit of a nostalgia element to it. I remember this commercial acting as official start to the reign of Nike in golf, as they already had Tiger Woods representing them and also managed to sign what was then an up-and-coming star in Rory McIlroy.
The video shows Rory and Tiger battling it out on a driving range, each trying to one-up the other by hitting a golf ball into any “cup” that was available. I especially enjoy the last couple of seconds of the ad, which reveals a Nike Swoosh hedge in the background of the two pro golfers hitting away.
“Just Do It”
And finally, we get to the most emotional of the commercials listed. There were multiple “Just Do It” commercials produced during Tiger’s time with Nike (one very memorable one with Tiger’s dad Earl narrating), but this one celebrated the G.O.A.T.’s latest major championship victory.
Tiger officially announced that he was back (and maybe had never left) when he shocked the world and won the 2019 Master’s, and Nike met the moment with this perfectly executed advertisement: