Nike co-founder bluntly explains golf equipment exit

Nike

The co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, has bluntly revealed why the world’s largest athletic brand pulled out of the golf equipment industry.

News that Nike would stop producing golf clubs, balls and bags sent shockwaves through the golfing world when it broke on August 3 and resulted in some of the sport’s biggest names – Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie – to find new equipment partners.

The company’s focus switched towards being the ‘undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel’, with Knight revealing that the equipment was never profitable.

“It’s a fairly simple equation,” Knight told Bloomberg. “We lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls and realised that next year [2017] wasn’t going to be any different.”

Read more - How Twitter reacted to Nike bombshell

Jason Day

Knight’s comments hit home the struggles Nike faced in establishing itself as a serious and sustainable competitor to the likes of Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist and Ping – with one suggested reason for the struggle that the company didn’t have a driver that resonated with consumers.

Revenues for Nike as an organisation went up $2b in 2015 to $32b but the Nike Golf division continued to make losses – and that was despite having Woods using clubs since 2002 and McIlroy since 2013.

Nevertheless, Nike have continued to expand their roster of athletes. Thomas Pieters, Alex Noren and Alexander Levy signed apparel and footwear deals earlier this year, while Jason Day (above) did the same last September in a reported $10m per year deal.

Golf News

Justin Thomas reveals how he gets under Tiger’s skin
The full teams & contenders for the 2018 World Cup of Golf
Catriona Matthew reveals third Solheim Cup vice-captain
Off to Abu Dhabi! bunkered Fantasy Golf '18 champion is crowned
Rory McIlroy mulls over year in reflective Instagram post

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
Review: Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick tips with Denis Pugh and Peter Barber See all videos right arrow

play button
Stand taller at address says Denis Pugh
Watch
play button
Move the ball further forward in your stance
Watch
play button
A flatter swing plane will help cure your slice
Watch
play button
A more upright posture for more consistency
Watch
See all videos right arrow