Last month the golf world seemed poised for Tiger Woods’
return to the professional circuit. But as quickly as he announced his plan to play the Safeway Open within days the Nike Golf
player had withdrawn, citing his game was “vulnerable and not where it needs to be.”
The former World Number One is now set to try again in December at his foundation’s Hero World Challenge. Whether or not Woods will actually make it into the field is anyone’s guess. After over a year out of competitive play there will be a lot of hype if/when the 40-year-old returns and countless comparisons to the golfer he once was.
For Woods’ part he seems to already be taking a hard look at what his career will be post-professional play. One interesting theory involves the golfer getting into the manufacturing game and with Nike exiting the equipment race could this really be the superstar’s next move?
Since September rumors have been flying around the Internet that Woods (the front man for a venture capital group) is in negotiations to buy TaylorMade Golf
from adidas. The 14x major winner has yet to confirm or perhaps more interestingly deny the rumors – leaving many to continue to speculate over the nature of the deal.
Last week Woods unveiled what he hopes will become his “post-playing” legacy, TGR – Tiger Woods Ventures. On his website Woods stated TGR represents his “Chapter 2: my evolution as a competitor off the course.” This new company will serve as an umbrella for all the American’s current and future business interests.
This is an interesting move for the golfer and could possibly point towards the legitimacy of the TaylorMade rumors. With some seeing this as Woods “cleaning up house” before the big announcement.
Many were hoping his Safeway Open appearance might also lend to the validity of the TaylorMade story as it would be the first opportunity to see what clubs he had in the bag since Nike’s shock announcement. At the moment, all Nike equipment staffers are basically free agents. While the apparel contracts will stay firmly in place, those who use Nike clubs are allowed to try out other equipment as and when they want.
It’s worth mentioning that other Nike staffers are already putting TaylorMade gear in play. Rory McIlroy
played the WGC-HSBC Champions using the TaylorMade M2 Driver
and M2 Fairway Woods
. Paul Casey
has also dabbled with a TaylorMade driver as well as Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari. Sunday’s Turkish Airlines Open winner Thorbjorn Olesen used all TaylorMade clubs except for his Nike putter. With an arsenal including the TaylorMade M1 Driver, M2 Fairway Woods and PSi Tour Irons
, the Dane secured his fourth European Tour title.
Does any of this prove that Woods is on the brink of owning the huge golf brand? While no concrete evidence can say for sure it is quite interesting to see how all the Nike staffers seem to be drifting towards TaylorMade. Another curious move came from World Number One (and good friend of Woods’) Jason Day
in early September. The Australian has long been a TaylorMade/adidas Staffer. While Day will continue to play with his TaylorMade clubs, he has signed a lucrative deal to wear Nike Apparel
starting in 2017.
Only time will tell what Woods’ ultimate plan for the future is but we will definitely be keeping an eye out to see what equipment shows up in his bag come December!