Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tiger's Shot, Nike's Gain; "No Way to Calculate" What Woods' Dramatic Chip at Masters Means to Nike

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tiger's Shot, Nike's Gain; "No Way to Calculate" What Woods' Dramatic Chip at Masters Means to Nike

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits, The Times-Union

Tiger Woods' chip-in birdie at the par-3 16th hole of the Augusta National Golf Club in the final round of the Masters didn't just help win his fourth green jacket.

The shot, the image of the ball hanging on the edge of the hole for a full 2 seconds, Woods on his knees while watching the ball approach the hole and then his emotional reaction when it hit the bottom of the cup will pay long-term marketing dividends for Nike Golf and the industry as a whole.

By a twist of fate that other golf equipment manufacturers must now be silently cursing, Nike's "swoosh" logo on the ball was in full view when it was on the cup's edge. The shot has been replayed thousands of times in the past week and will continue to be replayed countless times in the future, giving Nike what amounts to the best free advertising possible.

"They're going to be showing replays of that shot 50 years from now," said Tom Ashton, manager of the area Edwin Watts retail outlets. "And every time, Nike gets their logo out there again."

"There's no way to estimate how much that shot will do for Nike in the future," said Drew Pettengill, manager of hard goods for the PGA Tour Stop at the World Golf Village.

Nike marketing officials already have calculated that the first 60 replays of Woods' chip were worth $1 million in free advertising. Based on the estimated rate of $250,000 for a 30-second commercial charged by the Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters, one replay of the chip during the CBS telecast was worth $16,666 in free advertising.

In the short term, Nike products have experienced an upward spike in sales on the First Coast. Ashton said sales of Nike balls have gone up in the past week about 10 to 15 percent, and said sales of the Ignite driver, fairway woods, irons, gloves and apparel such as hats and shirts also have increased.

David Gates, owner of David Gates Golf, said the sales for all Nike balls "have really gotten some momentum."

"Nike was headed in the right direction in every product line even before last week," Gates said. "There was a time when the ball was doing OK, the shoes were doing OK, but they were struggling in clubs. Now they've figured out the shoe and figured out the clubs, and they're going in the right direction with every category. And Tiger is going to be the catalyst, as he always has been for them."

According to industry estimates, Nike had around a 9 percent share of the golf equipment and clothing market before the Masters. All signs point to that increasing.

"People had already become more aware that Nike was a real player in the game," Ashton said. "That perception and the benefits to Nike Golf are only going to improve."

Nike marketing director Chris Mike told the Chicago Tribune last week that the company already is beginning plans for a TV ad campaign for the Nike One Platinum Ball, which Woods has been using since January and will be available for sale to the public in May or June. …

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