The no. 1 player in the world will be donning the famed SWOOSH logo as Jason Day has reportedly signed a shoe, hat and apparel deal with Nike, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. While Nike recently exited from the club manufacturing business, the company vowed to continue a strong presence on the PGA Tour with its clothing and footwear, so a deal with Day would make sense.
The move became possible when Nike suddenly announced last month that it was leaving the equipment business. Day, whose contract is up at the end of the year with TaylorMade-Adidas, is happy with his equipment, so he re-signed with TaylorMade. Those who have TaylorMade clubs usually get paired with Adidas shoes and apparel. But that has changed as Adidas, amidst continued consumer pressure in the golf business, is selling its golf businesses.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Rovell reports that one source says Day will receive $10 million a year. Day’s agent Bud Martin did not return a call asking for comment.
As our friends at NoLayingUp point out, Rovell appears to contradict himself and/or simply just does not know golf very well, which is apparent in his write-up.
Day might not be in the same marketing category as Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, but Nike can sell plenty of golf shirts by using Day as a model. Day is the model of consistency that Woods nor McIlroy have been. Not only did he win last year’s PGA Championship, but he has finished in the top 10 in six of the past eight majors.
With Woods out, and McIlroy’s game not up to par, Nike has had to push Brooks Koepka as its next name at retail, but he only has one PGA Tour win.
Wait, I’m confused — if Day isn’t in the same marketing category as McIlroy, then how is McIlroy able to promote Nike with his game not up to par? It’s also worth pointing out that while Day’s achievements in the past two years have been impressive, McIlroy has finished in the top-10 in six of the last nine majors he’s played with Nike golf clubs and won two of his four total major championships in that time. Plus, McIlroy is just coming off a very impressive come-from-behind victory, where he overcame a six-shot deficit less than two weeks ago. In fact, it was last week! But this is another issue.
Since apparently Rory can’t provide Nike with more majors, according to Rovell, Nike is turning to Day as the new IT face of the brand.
In Day, Nike hopes to find more relevance on Sunday of the majors. A Nike endorser hasn’t won a major in the past eight, the longest drought since 2003-04. And Tiger’s last PGA Tour (win) came more than three years ago.
I don’t think it would surprise anyone if Day shows up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the first event of 2017, wearing Nike gear head-to-toe. After all, similar to Rory, Day grew up with Tiger Woods as his hero. In recent years, Day and Tiger have become frequent text message buddies, with Tiger often offering his advice to his protege and Day routinely asking Tiger for his expertise and advice.
Plus, I can definitely picture Day sporting Nike. If the report is true — which likely it is — sounds like the start of a long and fruitful partnership. I’ve said this for a while — I’m not sure if I have publicly — but Nike’s golf footwear and apparel is by far the best mainstream brand in the business.