The phrase “end of an era” gets thrown around a lot these days, but Tiger Woods parting ways with Nike truly marks the conclusion of a significant chapter. Yes, the iconic partnership characterised by the memorable swoosh, Sunday red, and the black mock turtleneck, has come to an end after an impressive 27-year run — one of the most lucrative relationships in the history of sports.
A couple of golf tragics within our office were captivated during their youth by Tiger’s prowess on the course and had rocked Nike apparel to emulate their admired hero. So with the news that The Cat might never sport the swoosh again, we took a moment to reminisce about the most unforgettable Tiger Woods x Nike commercials over the years. “Hey Alexa, play All Good Things (Come to An End) by Nelly Furtado…”
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) January 8, 2024
In a statement shared on Twitter (see above), the 15-time major champion expressed gratitude to the sporting goods giant for their support. Woods reminisced about signing with the brand as a 20-year-old in 1996, a partnership that reportedly earned him around USD$500 million (AU$745 million) over nearly three decades and facilitated his ascension as golf’s inaugural billionaire. While there’s no news on if and who Tiger will sign with next, he has assured fans that “there is another chapter” ahead.
As Woods piled up victories on the PGA Tour and major championships, Nike’s golf revenue would soar, peaking at a reported USD$792 million in 2013. However, in 2016, the company pulled the plug on its equipment business, ending the manufacturing of clubs, balls or golf hags. The company would still create golf apparel for the likes of Woods and Rory McIlroy and other top professionals on tour, including Woods’s signature red shirts for Sundays, while Woods signed deals to use TaylorMade clubs and Bridgestone balls.
Speculation had circulated for months that Nike was contemplating a complete departure from the golf business, which represents only a small fraction of the company’s overall revenue, reaching $51.5 billion over the last four quarters. It’s also important to note that in December, Nike disclosed layoffs and a $2 billion cost-cutting initiative.
Best Tiger Woods Nike Commercials
Woods, 48, joins a line of iconic Nike athletes departing as their careers wind down. Andre Agassi switched to Adidas before retiring from tennis, while Roger Federer left Nike in 2018. Federer secured lucrative deals with Uniqlo for USD$300 million and aligned with On, a Swiss sneaker brand, with an equity deal surpassing USD$200 million. Maybe this is yet another brilliant move by Nike to sell high, but let’s delve into these classic Tiger commercials nonetheless.
This unique Tiger Woods Nike commercial proves that sometimes skill can be contagious. When a group of backyard hackers find themselves side-by-side with the GOAT at the driving range, suddenly their game drastically improves. Synced up perfectly with the music, this ode to greatness and being in its proximity will go down as one of the best golf commercials ever made.
The OG Nike and Tiger commercial, ‘Juggling’ was one of the most important components in turning the young gun into a global sensation. Originally airing in 1999, this clip reported only took four takes to nail, with director Doug Liman revealing in a later interview that Woods could only juggle for 28 seconds to fit the commercial parameters. Remarkably, Woods juggled for exactly 28 seconds before connecting with the ball in midair.
Rory and Tiger
What happens when two of the best to ever do it face off? For this commercial, Nike paired Tiger with then-up-and-comer Rory McIlroy for an exhilarating look into the competitive world of golf. It’s pretty impressive to see Rory go head to head with his childhood hero and he doesn’t back down. Great casting and a terrific result.
From the moment Earl Woods’ voice booms through the speaker, you get chills. In ‘Never’, the golf icon’s father reveals the stern but fair approach he took to get Tiger to where he needed to be. Challenging and brazen, Woods’ formative years were the stuff of legend but all the hard lessons learned invariably moulded him into the player we all admire today.
We’ve all dreamed of smacking a few balls into an abandoned building, but unless you are Tiger Woods, you probably won’t get away with it.
The encapsulation of Nike’s later commercials with Tiger, ‘Ripple’ tells the story of a young golf fanatic following in the footsteps of his sporting hero. As the clip moves on, we slowly learn about the incredible dedication that is needed to turn professional, before the great reveal – that young boy is actually fellow world champion Rory McIlroy. A testament to following your dreams, this clip not only tugs at the heartstrings but also demonstrates Tiger’s most underrated ability; his longevity.
It’s Going to be Very Different
When Woods suffered an ACL injury and a double stress fracture in his left tibia following a victory at the 2008 U.S. Open, the golf legend deservedly took some time away from the game, but not from his commercial duties. During the injury break, Woods shot this advertisement, which sees the rest of the PGA envisioning ‘The Sweet Life’ – ie, the one where Toger is repeatedly destroying them each week. That is until the great man returns, putting an end to their daydreaming.
Golf’s Not That Hard #1
The first of many ‘Golf’s Not That Hard’ clips Tiger produced for Nike, this one focuses on the Aim Zoom TW, not to mention a serious work of swing art. The commercial definitely scores some points in our book for the cheesy ’90s graphics and genuine danger involved with driving a ball through a crowd of people. Absolutely wild.
Golf’s Not That Hard #2
The second ‘Golf’s Not Hard’ commercial on this list, this one reveals a basic look at Tiger’s ’90s swing. Unlike some of the other advertisements Tiger and Nike worked on over the years, this clip is actually incredibly helpful when it comes to improving your swing. Tiger takes you through the fundamentals of maintaining form during the backswing whilst also demonstrating body positioning and momentum through the stroke.
It is perhaps the most simple of Nike’s commercials to feature Tiger Woods, but this slow-motion shot of his swing could well be the most impressive. A single shot demonstrating the awesome power of the world champion is all you need to understand why Tiger is, and always will be, the GOAT.
Taking it all the way back to where it all began, ‘That’s Incredible’ charts Tiger’s remarkable journey from childhood TV phenomenon to world champion. The clip starts with his iconic appearance on The Mike Douglas Show at age 2 and chronicles his path to sport’s elite inner circle, and what’s more, it doesn’t shy away from the heartache. Touching on some of the more brutal injuries in Tiger’s career, this commercial set the tone for what Nike would do later with the more emotional commercials.
I am Tiger Woods
Arguably the greatest Tiger Woods Nike commercial ever produced, ‘I am Tiger Woods’ follows a similar format used by the sports brand for other superstar athletes like Michael Jordan. Showcasing a number of young kids stating that they ‘are Tiger Woods’, the clip demonstrates Tiger’s unique ability to inspire the next generation of golfers. A pivotal moment in the sport’s evolution, this clip managed to make Golf accessible and interesting to urban America, bridging the gap between the wealthy country club player and the average sports fan.
Conversations with Frank
It goes without saying, but Frank was easily the best character in all of Tiger Woods’ Nike commercials. A talking driver cover with a remarkable knowledge of tungsten plugs, Frank managed to bring out Tiger’s surprising comedy chops in one of the strangest manners possible. We would have loved to be in the writers’ room when this one was thought up/
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