Tiger Woods didn’t wear the iconic Nike swoosh on his feet when he stepped onto the green Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Instead, Woods was spotted wearing a pair of black FootJoy Premier Series-Packard golf shoes.
The sight at the home course of the storied Masters tournament, which kicks off Thursday, triggered widespread speculation in the golf world – and was met by a vague statement from Nike.
“Like golf fans around the world, we are delighted to see Tiger back on the course,” Nike said in a statement. “He is an incredible athlete, and it is phenomenal to see him returning to the game at this level. His story continues to transcend sport and inspire us all. As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs.”
FootJoy is owned by publicly traded Acushnet. A representative for Acushnet didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The footwear flap didn’t appear to move investors in any meaningful way. Acushnet shares rose nearly 2% in premarket trading Monday, while Nike’s gained slightly.
Some have suggested that the switch-up could be due to Woods’ horrific car accident last February, which severely injured his legs. It might have left him searching for more comfortable options for his feet.
Woods, who turned pro in 1996, has been affiliated with Nike throughout his career. He even has his own pair of golf shoes with the sneaker giant, Nike Air Zoom Tiger Woods. To be sure, he was still wearing the swoosh logo embellished on his coral-colored polo shirt on Sunday.
Woods hasn’t commented specifically on his shoe choices this weekend, but he did take to social media to say he will be making a “game-time decision” whether or not he competes in the Masters. Should be play, it would mark his first competition since November 2020.
His last major championship win came in 2019 at Augusta National, his fifth Masters title overall.