Tiger Woods Fans Snub Shirts as Golfer Has Worst Year of Career
By Alex Sherman - Aug 24, 2010 8:02 AM MT

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Rick Horrow, founder of Horrow Sports Ventures Inc. and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor, talks about Tiger Woods's divorce from wife Elin Nordegren. The judgment was entered today in a court in Bay County, Florida, dissolving the union, almost nine months after a single-car accident led to the world's top-ranked golfer's admission of marital infidelity. (Source: Bloomberg)

Nike gets about 10 percent of its golf sales from the Woods brand, whose shirts, jackets and pants are among the most expensive clothing the sportswear maker sells. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg
Tiger Woods fans have put up with the philandering, the text messages and the domestic spats. Now comes what may be the hardest thing of all to tolerate: Losing.

Woods has played through the year without a single tournament win, putting him at 83rd on the PGA Tour’s money list. As his performance slumps, so have sales of his apparel line through Nike Inc., according to retailers Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Roger Dunn Golf Shops and Golf Discount Superstore.

Golf apparel sales overall are on the rise, signaling consumers are returning to the course, just not to Woods. Nike gets about 10 percent of its golf sales from the Woods brand, whose shirts, jackets and pants are among the most expensive clothing the sportswear maker sells.

“Apparel is hot right now,” said Laura Dowdy, the clothing buyer for Roger Dunn, which has more than 20 stores. “Everything -- Adidas, Puma, Nike, except the Tiger brand.”

Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, doesn’t disclose sales for the Tiger Woods Collection. Nike gets about $650 million in sales tied to the sport, according to Matt Powell, an analyst at Charlotte, North Carolina-based researcher SportsOneSource, who provided the estimate for sales of the Woods line.

“We support Tiger and never underestimate his abilities as a competitor,” Nike spokeswoman Beth Gast said in an e-mail. “He’s a phenomenal athlete with over 70 wins on the PGA Tour and 95 wins worldwide.” She declined to comment further. Woods’s representatives did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

Volume Slump

The line’s volume through the first half dropped 7.5 percent from a year earlier at Golfsmith’s 76 stores, Chief Executive Officer Martin Hanaka said in an interview. Total golf apparel sales climbed 11 percent over the same period at the Austin, Texas-based retailer.

Nike fell $1.34, or 1.9 percent, to $69.61 at 10:02 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had risen 7.4 percent this year before today.

“The Tiger effect has been negative this year,” Hanaka said. “Fortunately, other Nike products and other brands have been doing well, so we’ve been able to overcome it.”
Bloomberg