Following Tiger Woods’s Nike Exit, LIV Golf Might Be the Push That Swoosh Needs

Published 01/15/2024, 3:54 AM EST

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The golf world has been abuzz with the word ‘Nike’ for a while now. From Jason Day switching sides to a new partner to the Swoosh ending its 27-year-long partnership with its number one player, Tiger Woods, the iconic brand saw a lot of changes in just a short time. However, while all this was being said and done, a certain pro on the LIV Golf League was able to strengthen his relationship with the label—none other than Brooks Koepka.

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Interestingly, amidst the rising rumors of a possible exit from the golfing world altogether, the company was able to reassure its strong bond with an athlete who is on the Saudi-backed circuit. Moreover, the assurance coupled with the linking up of the brand with a LIV Golf team at a time when they just cut ties with a legend on the PGA Tour all points to one curious question; is Nike teaming up with the PIF-funded tour a smart move for its books?

The gradual rise of LIV Golf

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Ever since its inception in 2021 and the start of its inaugural season the following year, the golf world has been steadily opening its arms to the Saudi-backed league. This is simply evident when one looks at the merger, which, as per reports, is almost a done deal. What’s more, world No.3 Jon Rahm jumping to the alternate circuit, followed by a change in stance from the PGA Tour loyalist Rory McIlroy further proves its growing popularity in the sports realm.

Intriguingly, turning to the disruptive league during a time when the Swoosh was gradually losing its footing in the golfing world makes perfect sense. Besides, the brand strengthening its bond with Koepka, a golfer who was able to demonstrate his skills on the course multiple times, re-establishes the growing approval of the Middle Eastern tour. He might even go ahead and replace the 15-time major champ as their next golden boy!

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Brooks Koepka: The next Tiger Woods for Nike?

A scintillating year in 2023, including a major win at the PGA Championship and two victories on the alternate tour, indubitably crowns the golfer as a true power player in the game of golf. Moreover, coupling his success with the relationship he boasts with Nike does paint him as a replacement for the 48-year-old in the coming years, if not suddenly.

 

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As for the brand, roping in a professional who has cemented himself as one of the best in the game is nothing shy of a smart move. Besides, if all goes well with the merger, the pro may even see himself playing a lot more donning the iconic Swoosh on the greens, especially on the PGA Tour and the majors. The 30-year-old proved dependable as well for the apparel company, as he recently took to show off his new footwear on the internet. Well, it seems the label made a worthwhile investment.

The Koepka-Nike connection

In nothing short of a slap to the faces of the many professionals who stopped wearing Swoosh, Koepka’s team, Smash GC, revealed a tweet showcasing the squad’s logo on the brand’s shoes. A few days later, the 33-year-old followed suit by sharing a picture of the newly launched edition of the shoes that he reportedly received from the label.

Although many speculated that the company lost its footing in the golf world, the surprise tweet by the 5X major champ did contribute a lot to ending the rising rumors. It proved that the brand still had a lot of big names helming the iconic logo. Besides, if everything were to go as per the talk of the street, then Nike would have bought Koepka’s team back in June 2023.

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Well, the rumors came to be just that—rumors. However, Smash GC did partner up with another clothing label, Bald Head Blues, for the remainder of the 2023 season. Although Matthew Wolff also had the iconic label as his partner and continued to sport the same back then, a recent development showed him splitting up with Nike not too long ago. Nevertheless, throughout the time, the skipper continued to wear the Swoosh on his apparel, back then and now, showcasing the bond he had with them.

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All in all, the athletic clothing and footwear company focusing more on LIV Golf, especially on Smash GC, would undoubtedly be a smart business move on their part. In addition, if the team, which recently welcomed their new member Talor Gooch, the 2023 Individual Champion, carries forward their momentum, then Nike would have surely raked in a lot more benefits from their partnership with the squad and the league as a whole, despite their split with Woods.

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Written by:

Allan Abe

902Articles

One take at a time

My search for happiness eventually led me, Allan Abe, to the hallways of ES after dabbling in different fields. Following my childhood passion for the sport and coupling it with my passion for writing, the role of a golf writer was the perfect career path and has been more than a fruitful one. Through the live coverage and in-depth analysis of the lives of big stars like Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm, I have put to use all my journalistic-accolade-winning experience, from state-wide events to college competitions, to give the reader a great story with every piece.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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