Arguably the greatest ever sportsman, undoubtedly the greatest ever golfer, Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger’ Woods is a living legend and it’s fair to say he’s had his share of ups and downs, all whilst changing the face of golf and doing wonders for African-American sportsmen and women. Titles, records and undeniable talent, Tiger has achieved the unthinkable in his career and it’s amazing to have him back. Regardless of his infamous scandals, we can’t help but smile at his recent successes.
Infidelity, injuries and break-ups have shadowed Tiger in recent years with 2009 being a year I’m sure he will want to forget. A careless driving fine sparked what seemed to be the beginning of the end for Woods’ career as his personal life began to surface. Oh, how wrong we were…
Okay it’s well known that Tiger didn’t just lose some dignity through his trials and tribulations, his huge portfolio of lucrative endorsements took an even bigger hit. With the likes of Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture dropping him and lost revenue accumulating to a staggering $22 million (endorsement deals dropped from $92 million to $70 million), brands just couldn’t afford to take the risks. But not all brands are the same, and not all brands are Nike… (Business Insider 2010)
Nike stick with their athletes through thick and thin, they’ve done it before and I’m sure they’ll ‘Just Do It’ again. We couldn’t help but feel a sort of security when Nike stood by Tiger, like they knew he’d be back and their backing never really was in doubt. Phil Knight, former chairman and CEO of Nike put the whole thing into perspective and quoted “When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip” (The Guardian 2009).
With credit to Nike, they haven’t changed their approach on the latest stories to come from Woods’ personal life. They announced they would continue to endorse him after a ‘Driving under the Influence’ arrest in 2017, something which may have gone punished with by other brands. From a PR and marketing point of view, it may seem that they have invested too much to turn back on him or saw success coming his way. It begs the question, how long will it be before he bags one of Nike’s prestigious ‘Lifetime’ sponsorship deals, joining Michael Jordan, Le Bron James and Cristiano Ronaldo to the elite club?
Fast forward to now, 2018… a year that made every sport fan feel like the Greatest of all Time is back. His first win in 5 years and what a win it was! The crowds came out in force to cheer him on as “U-S-A… U-S-A” rang around the 18th hole in Atlanta. His fans left with a smile their faces and pretty sure the sponsors did too. Through Tiger’s tough times he dropped down to 1,199th rank in the world (not forgetting he had an extensive break from the game) before hitting 656th in 2017. His latest win takes him to 13th and going into the next tournament in fine form (The Metro 2018). Forbes (2018) reported Woods to have earned $43.3 million in this year alone, even before his latest victory in September 2018. It is brilliant to see the legend dominate once more and prove that ‘form is only temporary and class is permanent.’