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Nike is not going to shut down its business. At least that’s clear a few months after it severed its 27-year-old ties with Tiger Woods. While for the 15-time Major champion, finding a new sponsor was never going to be a hassle, the job on the other side was equally tough. Aside from the nostalgia—which would reject Sun Day Red with as much nonchalance as anyone replacing Woods as Nike’s poster boy—someone who could match Woods’s on-course exploits was seemingly impossible. That is, until Scottie Scheffler arrived at the scene!

Comparison between the two started last year only when Scheffler’s scoring record reached near peak Woods. Rather than fading away, which some predicted, the 27-year-old has doubled down on his game. While many also thought Rory McIlroy would take the mantle from Woods, it’s Scottie Scheffler who is enjoying his moment in the limelight. As the Masters draws near, can Nike replicate with Scheffler the success it received with Woods?

Why Tiger Woods meant so much for an apparel brand

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What Tiger Woods did at the Masters was more than just emphatic triumphs. What Woods, in his most dominant form, did was ‘tamed’ the course. The Georgia pitch seemed docile in front of Woods’s 300-yard drives, his superior iron game, and his rigorous putting. It was what Bobby Jones said of Jack Nicklaus: that the game the latter was playing in the 1960s was uncharted territory for the Augusta mastermind. 

Also, aside from the beauty of his swing, the ferocity of his shots, and the agility of his back, neck, and ankle, what the 15-time Major winner also brought to the game was a new crowd—a new generation of golfers, some of whom now sit at the top of the PGA Tour elites, including the 27-year-old Scottie Scheffler. 

Nike’s profit soared with each of Woods’s victories. Per Apex Marketing, Woods’s 2019 Masters triumph injected $22 million into the Oregon HQ brand. The first triumph at Augusta was the start of a spectacular run that saw both parties bring home hefty sums in revenue for the apparel giant and brand endorsements for the latter.

Dave Anderson wrote in the New York Times that the 1997 Masters was a watershed moment. It was as if Tiger Woods drew “a line across fairways and greens of golf history—B.T. and A.T.—Before Tiger and After Tiger.” The question is, has Scheffler reached that point yet?

Scottie Scheffler has come quite close 

Scheffler has shown some of what Woods showed. This level of elite ball-striking has not been seen since Woods’s most dominant period. Scheffler is breaking records one by one with astonishing consistency. The first player to defend THE PLAYERS Championship title. The first player to post 28 consecutive rounds under par. And he broke some of his own financial records in the process as well.

The short game that was his bane has come around. Not that he is an ace putter now after shifting to a mallet earlier this month. But his short game doesn’t trouble him like it used to only a month ago. Woods, by the way, made every putt inside eight feet at the 1997 Masters. But not just the statistical measure; in more realistic terms, Scheffler has a tough job ahead of him.

Scottie Scheffler needs to be dominant… For a decade

What does it mean to reach the level of Tiger Woods? The current world No. 1 got a taste of that at Riviera. Scheffler has spent more than 70 weeks at the top of the world. The threat from Jon Rahm has effectively been blunted after the Spaniard left for LIV Golf. 

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Read More: Masters: Top Tiger Woods Moments of All Time

While an argument can be made that the golf world was not divided during Tiger Wood’s time and the 48-year-old had to face competition from the very best of his era, the job for Scheffler is no easier. And the Texas star has shown individual dominance regardless of the field strength that reaches near the 15-time Major champion.

Having said that, for the eight-time PGA Tour winner, the lone aim is this: to maintain this consistency. But for how long? Scottie Scheffler himself got that answer from a fan. After his PLAYERS triumph, the former Masters champion said, “I’m not going to remember the exact numbers, but we’re playing at Riv this year, and I hit my tee ball, and this guy yells out, ‘Congrats on being No. 1, Scottie—11 more years to go!’”

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The 27-year-old repeated those last words to himself a couple of times. That’s the difference Scheffler has with Tiger Woods. At this year’s Masters, arguably, Scheffler will be the biggest draw. But he has also fended off threats from Brooks Koepka, who was runner-up last year; Jon Rahm, the defending champion; and Wyndham Clark, who has been in red-hot form in recent times, threatening Scheffler on more than one occasion. A victory at the Masters will pump the numbers for Nike, but it’s never going to be easy for the Texas resident.

Read More: Scottie Scheffler Facts: Five Craziest Stats About the World No.1 Explored

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