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Despite Having Zero Concerns About ‘Walking,’ Why Is Tiger Woods Once Again Sporting Footjoy Instead of $147B Worth Longtime Partner?

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Tiger Woods never fails to surprise his fans. Until his announcement, very few expected him to tee off at the Hero World Challenge. Early signs were there. He was practicing his swings. Mysteriously (or mischievously) enough, he left one spot open in the tournament he hosts. So, the announcement of him finally stepping on the greens was surprising, but in retrospect, a little predictable. But Woods once again ditching his long-time sponsor, Nike, is what caught everyone off guard.

FootJoy shoes were a temporary solution to his niggling ankle problems. Now that the golf legend shared that the pain in his ankle was not there, everyone expected him to sport the familiar Swoosh on his sneakers. Moreover, in the Albany press conference, the 82-time PGA Tour winner sounded confident about his body. All signs indicate that Tiger Woods’ comeback will also be a return to older ways. But the Pro-Am clips circulated on the internet have revealed otherwise.
A Nike prototype? A FootJoy? Fans were left bewildered on Tuesday. Tiger Woods stepped on the Albay greens wearing an unbranded shoe on the Pro-Am at the Hero World Challenge. Some opined that it was another FootJoy, while others guessed it was probably a Nike prototype. It should be noted that Woods was actively involved in designing and testing Nike prototypes earlier.
Putting an end to all the speculation, on Wednesday, the 47-year-old golfer did wear a branded shoe, and it wasn’t Nike, still. He fell back on the FootJoy, which he first resorted to at the 2022 Masters. This time though, it was Premier Series—Wilcox—rather than the Packard he sported a year ago.
This was a rather odd choice given what Woods said just a few days ago at the press conference. “I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or before that. I’m not concerned at all about walking. I’m having an equal experience with the hardware that has been placed in my foot.” Is the former World No. 1 taking precautions, then?

The veteran golfer admitted other areas of his body are bearing the brunt of the load. Interestingly, Woods cut short the 18-hole Pro-Am to nine rounds for himself on Wednesday. But is that the only reason, or is there more to it?

Has Woods forsaken the $167 billion apparel giant? 

Woods first sported the FootJoy shoes at the 2022 Masters. At that time, Woods revealed that he had “limited mobility with rods and plates and screws in my leg.” However, now that the “ankle is fine,” as he admitted earlier, Woods sticking to FootJoy has raised many questions.

Moreover, last year, Woods cleared the air on the deal with Nike. The veteran golfer noted, “Nike’s been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment and work, and we have worked; we’ve been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again. We’re still going to continue doing it, and hopefully, we’ll have something soon.” It should be noted that last year, Nike too released a statement, saying, “As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs.

More than a year has passed, but there has not been any update from Nike. It is also very surprising considering that Tiger Woods has been a poster boy for the brand since 1996. The initial five-year deal for a reported $40 million was so successful for both parties that Woods never looked beyond the mega-brand, even for his golf balls and clubs, until 2016. Nike, too, rewarded the golfers’ legacy and loyalty by naming a building after Tiger Woods.

The $167 billion sports brand most recently released a redesigned TW’13 shoe that the Mestro sported in the 2012 Masters. Ironically enough, Nike continues to promote the Air Zoom TW’20, which adorns the feet of current World No. 1, Scottie Scheffler, not Tiger Woods. The tattle about an alleged broken deal has also been fanned by the fact that Charlie Woods, too, was spotted with a FootJoy shoe.

For the record, Charlie Woods, a 14-year-old teenager, has yet to sign any sponsorship deals with any sports brands. However, Woods Jr. has been spotted rocking the FootJoy shoes, on two occasions, at least.

Last year, a video of him practicing circulated on X (formerly Twitter). The young golfer was practicing his swings. Aside from the apparent similarities with his father, what also caught attention was his footwear. Many fans pointed out that Charlie Woods, too, was wearing FootJoy kicks. Reportedly, last November at the Notah Begay Junior Championship, Woods Jr. picked FootJoy as well.

While Tiger Woods was frank in his admission about many questions, there hasn’t been any word on the Nike deal. Hopefully, there will be some clarity when he tees off with Justin Thomas on Thursday morning. Regardless, Nike would do well to address Tiger Woods’ concerns sooner rather than later.

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