What Is Tiger Woods's 'Next Chapter?'

Assessing five rumors about where Tiger is headed after Nike.

Golf
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It’s no longer a rumor, Tiger Woods and Nike are no more. The partnership which spanned 27 years, four contracts, 15 major championships, 82 PGA Tour wins and a lot of red shirts came to an end on Monday morning, January 8. Although the writing appeared to be on the wall for some weeks, that did little to lessen the impact. Nike Golf is synonymous with Tiger Woods, and the end of the relationship has prompted people to reflect on Tiger’s past heroics with a tinge of sadness in their eyes. Further, the fact that the two are no longer together casts doubt on Nike’s future in golf as a whole, with Jason Day already having turned in his Swoosh.

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. As the “Tiger leaving Nike” rumors continued to pick up steam last month, speculation naturally arose as to his next move. Is his equipment sponsor TaylorMade branching out to apparel? Is FootJoy, the golf shoe brand that Tiger has worn since the 2022 Masters, making a play to expand its relationship with the 15-time major champion? Keep in mind that in the public statement where Tiger confirmed Monday’s news, he signed off by saying “People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will certainly be another chapter. See you in LA.” That means that at the very latest we’ll have an answer by next month’s Genesis Invitational.

But in the meantime, let’s take a look at five rumors that have been floating around.

Greyson

For those unfamiliar with Greyson Clothiers, it was founded in 2015 by Charlie Schaefer, who took his experience working at Ralph Lauren to build a brand focused on technical performance and classic tailoring. The impetus for this rumor primarily stems from two facts. One, that Tiger’s son Charlie recently switched to the brand. And two, Tiger’s close friend and fellow tour competitor Justin Thomas is an equity partner.

That’s all well and good, but despite its early success the brand lacks the spending power of a Nike or TaylorMade, so in order to bring Tiger on board Greyson would need to sweeten the pot in the form of equity. Further, for a man who had gripes with wearing bell-bottom pants at the 2010 Ryder Cup, it feels like a reach that he would rock up to the first tee at Riviera Country Club with elastic cuffs around his ankles. And patterned polos with large florals or all-over wolves? That doesn’t scream Tiger to us.

TaylorMade

Now that Tiger and Nike are a thing of the past, the GOAT’s longest current partnership is with TaylorMade, who he’s been with for the last 6 years. In fact, you could argue that Woods has been closer to the TaylorMade brand than Nike in recent times, given that he’s appeared in numerous ads (like the fan-favorite holiday photoshoots) and has his own signature set of irons that he currently uses in competition.

In this case, the speculation hinges on TaylorMade (who were tied to adidas once upon a time) expanding beyond equipment to build its own clothing line with Tiger front-and-center as its first ambassador. Keep in mind that TaylorMade recently collaborated with Malbon Golf on an apparel collection, which could be an initial testing of the waters. Given the size of TaylorMade and its cache as a brand, this is probably the most valid rumor of them all.

TW Brand

In this scenario, rather than signing on with a new entity, the power of Tiger Woods as its own brand is harnessed to develop an original apparel line. There’s no arguing Tiger’s influence on the game remains powerful, but is it too late in the game for something like this to take off? After all, Tiger only has a few years left at the top realistically, and the success of a TW brand long term would rely on him remaining as a public figure post retirement. For someone who owns a yacht called Privacy, that could be a tall order.

And what would the logo be? It’s unclear whether the famous TW monogram is owned by Nike, so the three stripe TGR logo may have to become the focal point, but it doesn’t have nearly the same prestige or history.

FootJoy

Tiger Woods to FootJoy? He’s already wearing the brand’s shoes, so perhaps an expansion of the partnership could be in the cards. As mentioned in the intro, Tiger genuinely shocked the world when he came to the 2022 Masters with his own signature shoes nowhere to be found. At the time, he referenced needing a more stable shoe to accommodate recent ankle surgeries. At first, it was thought this would be a temporary fix as Nike developed something to his liking. But the fact that it never happened was ultimately telling.

When it comes to clothing, FootJoy already outfits the likes of Max Homa, who always looks clean, if not a bit on the conservative side. But isn’t that how Tiger likes to dress? The brand’s cuts are classic and tailored, and Tiger could continue wearing the striped shirt and solid pants combo he has so often chosen. Perhaps we’d even get to see Tiger wearing some of FootJoy’s popular footwear collabs.

Malbon Golf

Let’s have a bit of fun and imagine that Malbon Golf, who just last week inked former Nike athlete Jason Day to a deal, signs the most famous golfer of all time. Followers of the brand will know that Malbon has long had a deal with Nike to produce co-branded merchandise. But does Malbon have enough marketing budget left after the Jason Day announcement? Probably not. And as someone hyper-focused on gaining any small advantage from his gear and equipment, it’s hard to imagine Tiger embracing the brand’s fashion-first approach. But the thought of Tiger turning back the clock to start wearing the wide leg pants he rocked in the early 2000s is enticing nonetheless.

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