It is the end of an era, as Nike announced on Wednesday that they will be discontinuing their golf equipment business effectively immediately over concerns of how competitive the competition is, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com.
BREAKING: Nike announces it is ending its golf equipment business. No more clubs, balls or bags. Business just way to challenging.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 3, 2016
Nike was once the pioneer of the industry, having a deal with Tiger Woods at the peak of his mega-stardom. Currently, Nike has a partnership with 16 members of the PGA Tour (including Rory McIlory) and four with the LPGA Tour (including Michelle Wie); the status of those agreements is presumably up in the air.
The impact of a global conglomerate like Nike deciding to leave the golf business altogether could prove to be detrimental to the sport itself. In an age where Nike and other sports apparel companies are in bidding wars to acquire rights to individual NBA players or entire college programs, to decide to forgo an entire stream of revenue due to the lack of support, shows the direction that the company believes the sport is headed.
On the company’s website, they offer six different varieties of clubs, along with bags and balls, which will all be going by the wayside.
Just a day earlier, McIlory, the company’s current top draw on the PGA Tour, announced that he was tempted to try out a new putter after comments made by former PGA Championship winner Rich Beem, which suggested that he switch up the clubs he was using. Whether or not Nike plans to release their current commitments has not been announced, but presumably, those golfers would go back on the open market.