Tigers Chip Focus of Nike Ad

By Associated PressApril 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It was a Masters moment that will forever linger in memory: Tiger Woods' chip shot crawling to the lip of the cup, the ball teetering for what seemed like an eternity, its tiny swoosh slowly rolling up into view before dropping in. For Woods, it was a triumph. For Nike, it was a marketing coup - and a lucky one.
 
Some 2,750 miles away from the 16th hole at Augusta National, Nike Golf's director of marketing Chris Mike was scrambling for the phone. Nike, he suggested to a colleague, had the makings of its new ad campaign.
 
Through its nearly decade-long alliance with Woods, Nike has sought to gain ground in the golf equipment and apparel market. The company currently has a 9 percent slice of the golf ball market that's dominated by Titleist and Callaway Golf.
 
Because Woods hadn't won a major for two years, some believed that the perception of Nike equipment was tarnished, said Paul Swangard, director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. Then came The Shot.
 
'It really reinforced what Nike has been trying to get across - that they're a leading performance golf brand,' Swangard said.
 
In another stroke of luck for Nike, the very ball that Woods seemed to telekinetically will into the cup - the One Platinum - hits the market next month. It will retail for a pricey $54 a dozen.
 
Nike first paired itself with Woods back in 1996. He signed a five-year endorsement deal with the company in 2000 for a reported $100 million, and has become such a major part of the company's endorsement stable - one stocked with superstars - that he has a building named after him at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland.
 
Whether Nike can capitalize on Woods' feat through an ad campaign remains to be seen, however; Nike said it is working with Augusta National, which owns the rights to the footage.
 
'It was exciting in many different ways. It was exciting because it was a great moment in sports, and we always celebrate great moments in sports,' said Nike Golf spokeswoman Joani Komlos. 'It was exciting because it was a great moment for a member of the Nike family and it was exciting because it was a great moment for a part of our business that we're very proud of.'
 
Nike seems to have a knack for hooking up with the right athletes at the right time. When Brandi Chastain doffed her jersey after the U.S. Women's soccer team won the World Cup back in 1999, the sports bra splashed across newspapers worldwide was itself stitched with the swoosh.
 
'The Shangri-La is always unforgettable moments in sports that are linked to your brand,' Swangard said. 'This was one of those moments.'
 
And certainly, with a stable of athletes that includes Woods, Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong, Nike has done the right things to make sure it's in the right place, said Jim Andrews, executive editor of the IEG Sponsorship Report, a trade publication.
 
'Those three have obviously shown that Nike is very, very smart when it comes to sponsorships,' he said.
 
But it remains to be seen whether Nike sells more golf balls - hype doesn't always translate to profits, Andrews said.
 
'There can be hype built around this kind of thing, but in six months it's anyone's guess whether the numbers will be there,' Andrews said.
 
Komlos said Nike does expect to see great interest in its One Platinum ball after Woods' feat. 'We've seen time and time again that it does resonate with the average consumer,' she said.
 
Woods' chip shot instantly became one of the most unforgettable moments in golf. He hit the ball and it caught the slope at just the right place before taking a right angle turn toward the hole. It was still about 25 feet left of the hole when it began rolling slowly toward the pin, the swoosh tumbling over and over for the camera until its pause at the edge of the cup.
 
'A lot of it is luck, but I hit it pretty good,' Woods said. 'I hit it right on the spot.'
 
This year, Augusta National allowed commercial time to just three advertisers: SBC Communications, IBM and Exxon Mobile. Only four minutes of commercial time was allowed per hour.
 
The Masters was aired commercial-free the previous two years after Martha Burk's high-profile protest of Augusta National's male-only member policy. But it is Nike that has arguably gotten the most marketing mileage out of the tournament.
 
It is estimated that the company already had received more than $1 million in free advertising after the shot was shown the 60th time somewhere on a television news broadcast.
 
At the Masters, Nike Golf announced that more players used its irons than any other brand at a PGA Tour event - even though it was rumored that the company paid some of the aging former champions to use its sticks. But having the most irons in play allows Nike to run advertisements telling everyone about it.
 
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.