Tiger Woods’ net worth: An in-depth look at his wealth after his breakup with Nike

Few things in life have been as reliable as watching Tiger Woods playing golf on Sundays, clad in a red shirt with Nike’s familiar swoosh logo. For 27 years, the iconic brand’s partnership with one of the greatest golfers in history minted hundreds of millions of dollars, and eventually, it even catapulted Woods into the ranks of the billion-dollar club.

 

 

 

 

We all knew their relationship wouldn’t last forever, but Nike  (NKE)  was one of the few brands that remained by Woods’ side through his years of ups and downs, punctuated by groundbreaking wins, staggering losses, multiple injuries, and personal controversies.

 

Still, it came as somewhat of a surprise on January 8, 2024, when Woods announced on his social media accounts that he was ending his contract with the sportswear brand. The relationship had lasted more than 28 years.

 

 

Woods’ endorsement deals, along with his professional career, began in 1996, when he was just 20. He had won the NCAA golf championship as well as three U.S. Amateur titles before being named Rookie of the Year by the PGA.

 

Sports Illustrated designated Woods their “Sportsman of the Year” (a distinction he would earn again in 2000), stating “in just two months as a pro, he has completely transformed the sport,” and that wasn’t an understatement. By 1997, Woods would be the #1 ranked golf player in the world — and golf suddenly became cool to play.

 

Interestingly, while Woods’ cover portrait on Sports Illustrated depicted him wearing a logoless baseball cap, soon, all of his apparel would proudly bear Nike’s insignia, when, on August 27, 1996, Woods signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the company for $40 million, the most lucrative athletic endorsement in history at the time.

 

Back then, Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, called the figure “chump change.” The father would turn out to be right, as Nike would go on to extend his contract four more times, the last time in 2013 for $200 million.

 

 

As Tiger Woods’ wealth skyrocketed, so did Nike’s bottom line. Nike amassed priceless amounts of PR from its partnership with the multiracial golfer, saying “we watched him set records, challenge conventional thinking and inspire generations of people around the globe,” yet they also made a ton of money from him.

 

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Nike’s share price rose more than 1,470% during the 27 years-plus of the company’s relationship with Woods. Adjusted for four 2-for-1 stock splits and dividends, the total return is closer to 2,000%.

 

Tiger Woods’ red Nike shirts became a symbol of strength, power, and triumph over adversity; ESPN even conducted a color analysis of the red hues he wore — and for the record, Woods actually won the most tournaments wearing lighter, cerise colors, but he earned the most money donning deeper shades of crimson.

 

But it wasn’t just Tiger’s image that sold millions; his performances did, too. Woods was known for his incredibly powerful — dare we say charismatic — golf swing that brought a new level of athleticism to the game, and when Woods won the Masters in 2019, his first major victory in 11 years, analysts estimated that Nike had earned $22.5 million in brand exposure in his final round alone, according to Reuters.

 

Perhaps we all should have seen the writing on the wall when Woods stopped wearing Nike shoes in preference for the Footjoy brand after sustaining major injuries in a 2021 car crash that required adding rods and screws to his leg.

 

In his farewell announcement, Woods proved that he had learned a few things from his time with Nike’s marketing machines by hinting at “another chapter” … And we look forward to seeing what’s next. Because as we all know, when Tiger Woods gives his all to something, the end result is spectacular.

 

 

 

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods, born on Dec. 30, 1975, to Earl and Kultida Woods, had established himself as a golf phenom by the time he was three, when he played against comedian Bob Hope on “The Mike Douglas Show.” He was featured in a Golf Digest article at age five, and by the time he was eight, he had won his age bracket in the Junior World Golf Championship.

 

Back then, his only earnings from winnings came in the form of quarters from putting contests.

 

Woods’ star shone brightly as a teen, amassing scores more wins and receiving recruitment offers from top university golf programs; he chose to attend Stanford, although he left after just two years to play golf professionally.

 

 

 

At the age of 21, Woods was simply unstoppable. He won the 1997 Masters tournament by an impressive 12 strokes and set a television ratings record in the process. His winnings from The Masters amounted to $486,000.

 

This was the advent of the “Tiger Effect,” a term coined to describe the impact Woods’ outsized presence had on the sport. During tournaments in which Woods was not in contention, television viewership plunged by as much as 50%. Forbes also attributed the tripling in tournament trophy prize winnings between 1996 and 2008 to the “Tiger Effect.”

 

According to Golf Digest, Woods’ tournament-related earnings shot skyward after 1996, and surpassed $11 million in 2000, when he won 6 tournaments  on the PGA Tour, including the U.S. Open, which came along with a $800,000 paycheck. He won back-to-back Masters tournaments in 2001 and 2002, and he also took first prize in the year’s other big golf tournaments: the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship, a phenomenon that would become known as the “Tiger Slam.”

 

In 2005, Woods would win the Masters yet again, scoring what is considered one of the most famous shots in golf history: In the final round, he hit a chip shot from the rough on the 16th hole, causing the ball to roll out far out to the left, then, somehow, the ball turned back, rolled down a slope and found the hole, where it lingered for a dramatic pause before falling in. The crowd went nuts. So did television viewers around the world.

 

Woods took home $11.99 million from tournaments in 2005 and $11.94 million in 2006.

 

In 2007, his earnings exceeded $22 million from winning the PGA Championship. Although he missed part of the 2008 season due to a knee injury, he still managed to win the U.S. Open. 2009 was another banner year for Woods, taking home $21 million from his performances, including the Presidents Cup, although he failed to place in a major tournament that year.

 

 

In November 2009, reports of Woods’ erratic behavior came to light after his Cadillac Escalade ran into a fire hydrant, a tree, and some bushes near his home at the time in Windermere, Florida. Several tabloid magazines ran stories attributing the crash to an affair Woods was having with Rachel Uchitel, a New York nightclub manager.

 

In response, Woods released an apology to his family and took responsibility for his actions as well as his marital infidelity. In the days that followed, however, a dozen other women claimed to have had relationships with Woods while he was married, prompting him to announce that he was taking a break from golf.

 

It was a devastating time for Woods, and it showed in his game. Before the cheating scandal, his net worth was estimated to be around $800 million, yet he only made $2 million per year from PGA appearances in 2010 and 2011, not to mention losing several lucrative endorsement deals in the process, which cost him millions (more below). For the next few years, he tried to restart his golf game but would be plagued by leg injuries.

 

Ever the comeback kid, Woods rallied in 2012, earning over $9 million from his win at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, as well as his appearances in the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open. By 2013, he had made $12 million, notching first-place performances at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the Players Championship.

 

Back injuries defined most of his 2014 season, causing Woods to pull out of several tournaments, including the Masters, which he missed for the first time since 1995. Another back surgery caused him to miss the Masters again the following year — in total he would undergo five surgeries to correct problems in his back, spending much of 2016 and 2017 off the course, although Forbes estimated his net worth had ascended back to $700 million as of 2015.

 

In April 2017, Woods was found unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz and arrested for driving under the influence. Toxicology reports revealed evidence at the time of five prescription medications, including Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien. He had hit a new low.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gideon Canice

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