Nike is a big firm and golf is a teeny tiny part of its portfolio but the economic fallout from Tiger Woods’ decision to dump his custom-engineered Nike clubs in favour of some old ones he’s pretty sure are still in the loft somewhere (if his mum didn’t put them on ebay or something) could be immense.
Even if you only count the millions spent on the design, engineering and manufacture of the new line and ignore the huge potential damage to the brand from Woods’ now essentially useless endorsement (“You’ll be wanting a set of these clubs. They set my game back a year-and-a-half”) this is a big deal.
More amazing perhaps, is the sacrifice made by Woods in trying to make the endorsement work. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, his game has been kaput for the whole season – and he’s fallen to 24th in the rankings – as a direct result of his club trouble. It says a lot about the strange entanglement of mega-brands and sports stars that he should have given up the number 1 spot for the sake of the swoosh.