After much speculation, Tiger Woods is playing at The Masters — and he’s wearing FootJoy.
Round 1 of the tournament started today, and the golf icon — a longtime Nike athlete — has all-black FootJoy shoes laced up rather than a pair with familiar Swoosh branding. The look appears to be the FootJoy Packard style that is part of its Premiere Series range.
On Sunday, Woods was photographed during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., and instead of Nike, he wore the same pair of FootJoy shoes. The moment for golf fans was particularly jarring because Woods is one of the few iconic athletes who is seen as synonymous with the brand.
On Tuesday, Woods addressed his decision to wear FootJoy during a press conference.
“I have very limited mobility now. With the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg, I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable and that’s what I’ve gone to. Nike’s been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment and we have worked, we’ve been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again. We’re still going to continue doing it and hopefully we’ll have something soon,” Woods explained to reporters.
After the moment with Woods went viral, Nike issued a statement.
“Like golf fans around the world, we are delighted to see Tiger back on the course. 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,” Nike said in a statement that was emailed to FN.
Woods was back on the Masters course practicing a year after being hospitalized following a serious car accident. On Feb. 23, 2021, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it responded to a single vehicle “roll-over traffic collision” at 7:12 a.m. PT on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, and identified Woods as the driver and sole occupant. At the time, officials stated Woods was “extricated from the wreck with the ‘jaws of life’ by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics.”
In November 2021, Woods admitted via news conference at the 2021 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas that amputation of his right leg “was on the table.”