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Nike getting out of the golf equipment business to concentrate on shoes and clothing

Nike will stop making golf equipment to focus on shoes and apparel.

Nike is getting out of the golf equipment business, a surprising announcement Wednesday that is sure to send Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and other players searching for new clubs and balls next season.

Nike said it would stop making golf clubs, bags and balls, instead devoting its resources to shoes and apparel, long its strength in the golf marketplace.

“We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel,” said Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”

Woods has been with Nike since he turned pro in 1996 with a that “Hello, World” ad campaign, and he remains the most famous figure among Nike golfers. The Beaverton, Ore., company also signed McIlroy in a splashy announcement in Abu Dhabi to start the 2013 season.

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Woods has gone more than a year without playing because of back surgeries, though his agent at Excel Sports Management said he would remain “the iconic ambassador” for Nike Golf, just with a smaller group of products.

“He’s been the most loyal ambassador and longest standing for Nike Golf. That doesn’t change,” agent Mark Steinberg said in a telephone interview. “It just means he’ll likely have some different equipment in the bag, whether that’s tomorrow, next month or a year from now. Tiger and I have been talking about this the last couple of days. We have a very sophisticated, legitimate plan in place and we’re going to see it through.”

Brooks Koepka is another Nike client. He tied for fourth in the PGA Championship on Sunday and is in position to make his first Ryder Cup team. His agent, Blake Smith at Hambric Sports Management, said Koepka is happy with his equipment.

“I don’t think he’ll be in any rush at all to jump ship,” Smith said. “He’s got a bunch of tournaments coming up that are very important.”

Nike also equips Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie on the LPGA Tour.


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