Tiger Woods and TaylorMade have made it official. The golf great has agreed to create a new apparel and footwear performance and lifestyle brand with the Carlsbad, California company following his recent split with Nike.
The brand, Sun Day Red, will be available first only online beginning in May. “Life changes and this is important transition and I wanted to have a brand that I was proud of going forward,” Tiger said.
Woods says the name of the brand “Sun Day Red” is a tribute to the fact that he’s always worn red on Sundays. The tiger logo is a tribute to the 15 majors he has worn over the course of his career.
TaylorMade and Woods announced the news Monday night during a press event in Pacific Palisades, California, ahead of the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational, an event he hosts.
“It’s the right time,” Woods said, appearing in a cashmere sweater from the new brand.
Woods’ relationship with TaylorMade dates back to 2017, when the two signed an equipment deal that has him playing with the brand’s driver, fairway woods, irons and wedges.
Woods said he was courted by other companies but he trusted TaylorMade for their ability to “get it right.”
TaylorMade CEO David Abeles said Woods had been an inspiration for his team, including his discipline and meticulous approach to product design.
The new brand includes an entirely new company with separate headquarters and employees who are solely focused on its development, Abeles said.
“There is no influence from TaylorMade on this brand. His brand stands alone and is independent from TaylorMade,” Abeles said.
Last month, Woods announced his split from longtime apparel partner Nike after 27 years. Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told CNBC at the time that the golfer made the business decision not to renew with Nike.
The 15-time majors winner’s brand exposure today is less than it once was at the height of his career. Woods has been plagued with a series of injuries following his 2021 car crash near Los Angeles, in which he suffered multiple leg injuries. Since then, the 48-year-old has made rare appearances at major golf tournaments, and his play has been unsteady.
Yet, the deal is still a major win for TaylorMade. Woods still has a lasting legacy, experts say, and continues to draw massive crowds as fans hope to catch a glimpse of one of the greatest golfers of all time.
“Michael Jordan is still Michael Jordan, and Air Jordans still do very well,” said Eric Smallwood, president of Apex Marketing Group, invoking the basketball Hall of Famer for comparison.
Apex has tracked Woods’ brand exposure over the course of his career. Smallwood said the golfer’s TaylorMade deal will be a “huge lift” for its brand.
While Woods can be seen less frequently on the golf course, he has taken on ownership of a new indoor, tech-focused golf league with Rory McIlroy called TGL. That’s expected to kick off next year and has a broadcast deal on ESPN, which could be a big boost for TaylorMade.
Speculation around a Woods-TaylorMade partnership has swirled for months. TaylorMade created a new LLC called TaylorMade Lifestyle Ventures last March, according to Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney at Gerben Law. Then in June, the company began filing trademarks including SUNDAY RED, a logo for SUN DAY RED, a tiger logo and a tiger logo with the letters S, D, R.
Gerben told CNBC it’s likely that TaylorMade filed the LLC as a way to provide Woods with equity in the new company.
“I thought it was an incredibly unique structure,” he said. “In a sponsorship deal with an athlete, you very rarely see a new entity created just to own that.”
Representatives for both Nike and Woods weren’t immediately available to comment on that agreement.
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