— Brendan James (@BrendanJames2) September 15, 2016
The story got legs Thursday when Golf Australia magazine editor Brendan James hit Twitter to say that Sir Eldrick will not only play TaylorMade in 2017, he was thinking of buying the company as part of a group of investors.
Then James was seconded by another leading golf voice, Rick Young, a past president of the Golf Journalist Association of Canada and now a writer who follows the equipment industry.
— Rick Young (@RickSCOREGolf) September 15, 2016
Adidas currently owns TaylorMade but has made no secret it’s looking to get out of the golf equipment business, which isn’t producing the types of profits it once did.
Adidas bought TaylorMade in 1997 when it was part of a French ski and boot manufacturer called Salomon. TaylorMade paid $1.4 billion for Salomon and eight years later, it bought Reebok for $3.8 billion. TaylorMade also bought two other golf brands, Ashworth ($73 million in 2008) and Adams ($70 million in 2012).
Adidas’ golf apparel sales are strong, up 22 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to a year ago. TaylorMade’s golf business was up 6 percent but its overall golf brand, including TaylorMade, Adams and Ashworth, was down 1 percent.
Nike recently announced it was going to stop making golf equipment and continue with its apparel business, which is thriving. Woods is among Nike’s biggest pitchmen, playing swoosh equipment and wearing its gear.
Earlier this week, the world’s currently No. 1 ranked golfer Jason Day signed a seven-figure deal to wear Nike gear.
Nike has already kind of presented Woods’ “TW” line of apparel and shoes in a similar way to Michael Jordan’s Brand Jordan in basketball gear. Jordan’s stuff is Nike, but it has its own logo and branding experience.
Woods having his own official arm of Nike could make a lot of sense, and with his good buddy Day now in the fold, he would have a marketable star as well. And Day already plays TaylorMade clubs and plans to continue.
Woods — whether or not he did it under Nike or on his own — would also add huge star power to TaylorMade, too.