Nike's decision to leave the golf equipment industry last August shocked many in the sport, but it was well overdue according to company co-founder Phil Knight.
“It’s a fairly simple equation, that we lost money for 20 years on equipment and balls,” Knight told David Rubenstein of Bloomberg Television. “We realized next year wasn’t going to be any different.”
Knight once had high hopes for the golf department, as Nike signed Tiger Woods back in 1996 to wear the company's apparel. He said the the star was on their radar well before he won his third straight U.S. Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge.
"Tiger Woods you could see coming from way back," Knight said. "He had won three U.S. Juniors, and then went on to win three U.S. Amateurs in a six-year span from the time he was like 15 until 20. So, he would play occasionally in the Portland area, and we'd always invite him and his father out to lunch. We were working on that for probably three years."
Nike still has Woods under contract to wear its clothing and shoes, but like Rory McIlroy, he signed with TaylorMade to use its equipment earlier this year.
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