LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods in a red shirt on Sunday has become as recognizable as a Masters champion in a green jacket. Only it’s no longer about a Sunday red shirt for Woods.
It’s about a brand.
Five weeks after Woods and Nike announced their relationship had ended after 27 years, the 48-year-old Woods said it was “the right time in my life” to develop his own brand in an expanded partnership with TaylorMade Golf.
The brand is called “Sun Day Red,” and men’s apparel — golf shirts, hoodies, outerwear — will be available online in the United States and Canada starting May 1. The plan is to expand his line to include footwear, along with women and kid’s apparel.
The logo is a tiger with 15 stripes, one for each of his majors. And if he happens to win another major? “We’re going to have to redo the trademark,” he said with that famous smile.
It was quite the show Monday evening, more of an event than an announcement. David Abeles, the CEO and president of TaylorMade Golf, was so excited about the new brand that he promised those in the crowded room that they would remember 10 or 20 years from now where they were when “Sun Day Red” launched.
Here are a few details why this deal is important to Woods and a bold step for TaylorMade, which until now was mostly about golf equipment and its recent entry into the ball market.
Sportscaster Erin Andrews, who hosted the Monday event, might have said it best when she introduced Woods by saying, “For the first time in 27 years wearing something different … .”
As much as Woods was known for his red shirt on Sunday, he was equally known as one of the top Nike athletes. Nike signed him after he won his record third straight U.S. Amateur in the summer of 1996. “Hello, world,” Woods said the day he turned pro. Nike then churned out an advertisement campaign, and that was no coincidence.
But there was trouble brewing. Woods returned to golf following his February 2021 car crash and was wearing FootJoy shoes instead of the swoosh. He said it allowed him to be more stable. Nike said it would work with Woods to meet his needs. He was still wearing the FootJoy brand in his final tournament representing Nike.
TaylorMade or the new Sun Day Red brand does not have golf footwear just yet, though Abeles expects that to be developed before too long.
Germany-based Adidas previously owned TaylorMade, and all the golf clients wore the shoe. But a year after Nike Golf got out of the equipment business, Adidas sold TaylorMade to a private investment company. That allowed Woods to switch his golf equipment to TaylorMade, ultimately the start to what led to this new brand.
Abeles and Woods described it as a premium active lifestyle brand. This is as much performance on the golf course as comfort at his children’s soccer games.
The rollout will be gradual, starting May 1 online in the U.S. and Canada before expanding to key markets. The tiger with 15 stripes is the logo, but it’s not prevalent like the swoosh (Nike) or the alligator (Izod) or the polo rider (Ralph Lauren) on other brands.
The cap has the tiger on the front. Some shirts are plain, with the logo in a small square at the bottom of the buttons on a golf shirt. Some of the outwear has block letters of “Sun Day Red” written along the side of the quarter zip.
“The logo is sustainable and applicable, but it’s not unilaterally the same,” Abeles said. “We also think in lifestyle, it’s nice to have some tonal logos when you’re out at night.”
The Sunday red is obvious.
“Sunday red — it’s me,” Woods said. “It’s just become synonymous with me.”
So why the three words? Abeles and Woods talked about the “Rule of Three,” when three words or sentences of the same length can leave a greater impression. Woods, for example, is fond of saying his goals in golf were, “Work hard, think hard, play hard.”
Abeles said “Sun” also can mean the preferred weather (missing at Pebble Beach). Day can also mean that golf is played every day of the week. Red is what Woods has long considered his power color, with guidance from his mother.
There was no shortage of thought that went into that one.
Woods was wearing a cashmere hoodie during the announcement.
He will be in the new threads at Riviera Country Club this week, where he makes his 2024 in the Genesis Invitational. Woods is the tournament host of the $20 million signature event. There was a chance of him playing Tuesday afternoon. He has the pro-am on Wednesday, and the tournament starts Thursday. As for the Sunday red? First he has to make the cut.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf