When news broke Wednesday that Nike Golf will transition out of the equipment business, it quickly brought the future prospects of a certain 14-time major champion into question.
Tiger Woods helped catapault Nike into the golf landscape when he signed a record endorsement deal with the company in 1996. Nike began producing golf balls in 1998 and clubs in 2001, and Woods' bag was fully outfitted with Nike products shortly thereafter.
According to Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, Woods' apparel and footwear will continue to be provided by Nike in the wake of this latest announcement. His equipment, however, is now up in the air.
"Clearly he and I need to be thinking about a change on the hard goods side," Steinberg told GolfChannel.com via phone. "He and I have discussed at length the plan for that, and feel comfortable with what we're going to do going forward. But clearly, there's likely to be a change."
Woods used Titleist clubs before transitioning fully to Nike equipment. While Steinberg indicated he and Woods have "been digesting this for a couple of days," their list of potential replacements has yet to be narrowed down.
"Look, the golf industry is a 20-company industry. So there's a large list of companies that you can talk to that reputably can produce the proper equipment," Steinberg said. "We'll be proactive here, and make sure it fits Tiger's needs and desires."
Woods, 40, hasn't played competitively in nearly a year while recovering from multiple back surgeries and it isn't known when he'll return to competition. While Steinberg reiterated that the announcement does not change Woods' status as "one of the global icons for Nike and Nike Golf," he added that no timetable is in place to make a choice regarding a potential new equipment provider.
"Just like his comeback to golf, I think timelines inhibit you," he said. "So we'll do this methodically, and in a proper way."