When Nike Believed in Tiger Woods

When Nike Believed in Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Nike have a long association, dates back to 1996, when Woods made his professional debut and at age 21, Woods was rewarded 40-million-dollar sponsorship deal by Nike and as years passed by Tiger Woods value in the corporate world was increased tremendously following a 13 years long dominance in golf were the American stayed no. 1 for a record 683 weeks.
 
During his peak time, Woods was winning a minimum of five tournaments per year but at the same time he was getting too many injuries and his darkest period was 2009 sex scandal where Woods lost majority of sponsors like A&T INC., Gillette, Buick, Gatorade, Accenture and Tag Heuer.
 
Only a handful of companies choose not to leave Woods during his tough time and Nike was one of them and the next four years was very difficult for Nike to have faith in their brand ambassador Tiger Woods because from 2014-2017 Woods didn’t won a single event and his win tally was stuck at 79 PGA Tour wins and it was difficult to believe that the same man was once chasing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors (4 more than Tiger Woods) and now he was barely making cuts after 2013, despite all this Nike never deserted him and continued to sponsor Woods. In 2016, Nike stopped making clubs, balls, bags and continued suppling apparel to their athletes (including Tiger Woods) so, Woods had to shift to Bridgestone, Taylor Made and Monster for balls, clubs and bags respectively.
 
An era had passed, it was almost certainty that Woods was not going win another event in his professional golf career and critics were damn sure about it and the year of 2018 was some hope for Woods as he won his first PGA tour event after five years and got a total of seven top ten that year and made a huge leap in Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to 13 for 2018 year-end rank which was far better than 2017 year-end rank of 657. This was the return of Woods to the international scene after a decade long struggle and 2019 looked promising for Woods.
 
Tiger Woods started 2019 by finishing T20 in Farmers Insurance Open followed by three top thirties and solid T5 finish in World Golf Championship and after having a great outing in his first six tournaments, Woods went to Augusta National Golf Club for season’s first major and to everyone’s surprise Woods won the Masters for the fifth time in his career and his first major triumph in eleven years and finally Nike’s trust was paid off and soon after the victory Nike, made a commercial showing Tiger Woods over the years and the 53 second video said “To think a 43-year-old who has experienced every high and every low, and has just won his 15th major, is chasing the same dream as a three-year-old,” and the dream is to beat Niklaus’s god level record of 18 majors.



Tiger Woods celebrating his 2019 Masters win (Photo Credit: Augusta.com).

Tiger Woods battled all these years of physical and mental pain to become a major champion once again and the partnership that started in 1996 is still going on after 25 years.
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: MEDIUM.COM]
 

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February 07, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

When the golf community honored Kobe Bryant

When the golf community honored Kobe Bryant

Last year, the sporting world lost a global athlete Kobe Bryant in a Helicopter crash and one week later, PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was played in Arizona.


Hole 16 flag (Photo Credit: PGA Tour).

2020 Phoenix Open could not have been a better occasion to tribute the basketball legend and after Kobe Bryant’s demise, the PGA Tour installed a special flagstick featuring Bryant’s jersey numbers of 24 and 8 on back and front of the flagstick in the famed 16th hole of TPC Scottsdale.


Tony Finau (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

Players also tried their best to honor Bryant by posting their thoughts on social media and in Phoenix Open many players wore Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey like Tony Finau, Max Homa and other players wore customized shoes in memory of Bryant as Bryson DeChambeau painted purple and gold on the back of his Puma shoes and Tony Finau got Nike Lakers shoes and he also impersonated Bryant’s style of shooting after finding a birdie in the par-3 sixteenth.


(Photo Credit: Getty Images).

We Miss You Kobe Bryant!!
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter]


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February 04, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

Jack Nicklaus Birthday Special: Jack and the White Fang

Jack Nicklaus Birthday Special: Jack and the White Fang

One of the most intriguing chapters in Jack Nicklaus's professional career was the White Fang or Acushnet Bull’s-Eye putter.
 
Till 1966, Jack Nicklaus dominated the game of golf by achieving a career grand slam and winning 20 PGA tournaments from 1962-66. Nicklaus started 1967 by winning the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in late-January and for the next four months Nicklaus didn’t got a single win in the PGA Tour and not only that, Nicklaus also missed the cut in the 1967 Masters despite being a two-time defending champion (1965 and 1966).
 
Reason behind downfall:
Jack Nicklaus's poor putting was the reason and from April to June 1967 Nicklaus tried to figure out ways to bring back his game as he would spend hours on the putting surface and change his stance but nothing worked as the ball was refusing to go inside the cup.
 
The best thing a man can give:


(Photo Credit: GOLF.com).

During mid-1966, future PGA Tour Commissar Deane R. Beman was practicing with Jack Nicklaus and he saw Nicklaus struggling in his putting and Beman offered him the old Acushnet Bull’s Eye Putter and within few attempts Nicklaus had started making putts and slowly he started to like the putter. Originally, the putter was of Beman, he used it in his pro years and later, he passed on the putter to his friend Fred Mueller so, the current owner of the putter was Mueller and he had no problem in giving it to Nicklaus and the Golden Bear borrowed the putter for the upcoming US Open in Baltusrol.
 

Changes done in the Bull’s Eye Putter:

(Photo Credit: USGA).

When Deane Beman was using the putter, he had sprayed white colour on the club head for reflecting the light falling on the club face, named it the ‘White Fang’ and Nicklaus liked the putter but he was not comfortable with the grip so, Beman inserted a pencil on the top of the grip and broke the other part of the pencil, both Nicklaus and Beman tied the pencil with the grip through a leather rope and here it was, a perfect putter for Nicklaus, now the only thing he needed to do was to practice and improve his putting game.
 
1967 US Open:
Jack Nicklaus went to Baltusrol for the 1967 US Open and a perfect event for testing his new putter and in round one Nicklaus was ranked outside top ten for scoring +1 and in day two the putter was showing some sigh of positivity as Nicklaus was second in the leaderboards following a 67 in round two, only behind Arnold Palmer. Nicklaus lost two strokes in round three to even par from round two’s -2 due to round three’s 72 and both Palmer and Nicklaus were tied at second as Amateur Marty Fleckman became the sole leader at -1.

 
White Fang comes to the rescue:
On day four, the overnight leader (Marty Fleckman) scored 80 so, the event was left with Palmer and Nicklaus who were paired together for last two rounds. Everyone in the stands wanted Palmer to win the US Open but that day Nicklaus prevailed his critics by scoring eight birdies through the White Fang in round four for 65 and in front of Arnie’s army and Palmer’s 69 couldn’t stop the Nicklaus storm as the 27-year-old Jack Nicklaus defeated 38-year-old Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus's first major victory was 1962 US Open and 1966 US Open was Jack Nicklaus’s second US Open win in four years.



Jack Nicklaus winning the 1967 US Open Championship (Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated).

One of the most important thing the putter did was that it brought Nicklaus's confidence back as he won three more events in the year to a total of six PGA Tour victories in 1967 season.
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: USGA]
 

Referances: ABC News, Bleacher Report, Chicago Tribune, Golf Channel, Sports Illustrated, PGA Tour.

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January 21, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

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