PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The worst kept secret in golf has officially been revealed – Tiger Woods and TaylorMade have partnered to launch a new premium apparel and footwear brand for active lifestyles.
“We’re going to bring a brand to fruition,” TaylorMade CEO David Abeles said Monday night at a launch party, where he announced an extended partnership with Tiger to launch Sun Day Red as a standalone company.
Tiger ended his 27-year relationship with Nike at the end of 2023. He will compete Thursday at the Genesis Invitational in Sun Day Red.
“This is the right time in my life,” Tiger said. “It is a transition phase. I’m not a child anymore. I want to have a brand that I am proud of.”
Given its existing relationship with TaylorMade and their investment in PopStroke, a company in which Tiger also invests, it is a natural progression for TaylorMade and Tiger to continue working together. It’s unclear how much stake Tiger has in the new brand, but he’s more than just an endorser.
“Let me be very clear: what we are doing with Tiger, this is not an endorsement,” Abeles said. “This is a full-fledged, unequivocal partnership.”
When Abeles was asked after his presentation to elaborate on Tiger’s importance in the new standalone brand, he said: “We don’t disclose economics in the way we put things together, but we are intimate partners. We are partners in every sense of the word.”
When pressed further, he merely added, “We are great partners.”
Here’s a first look at some of the Sun Day Red gear from Tiger and TaylorMade. For sale from May 1. pic.twitter.com/Y0bdemxrNi
— Adam Schupak (@AdamSchupak) February 13, 2024
Casey Alexander, senior vice president of Compass Point Research and Trading and the longest-tenured golf analyst on Wall Street, sees another reason why TaylorMade would be motivated to create more growth opportunities.
“I don’t know if TaylorMade is going to do an IPO this year, next year or at all, but if they did, this would be an association that would make sense to create some juice around if and when they did. make a deal, he said.
Tiger’s use of Nike clubs and balls failed to make his equipment an authentic brand among golfers and Tiger ultimately chose to leave the golf equipment business in 2016. But there’s no denying that Tiger elevated Nike to the premier golf apparel brand during his prime. What does that mean for Sun Day Red?
“He’s a different man now,” Alexander said. “His game is in a different place and his life is in a different place, so we’ll see if he can still move the needle on the apparel side.”
Sun Day Red will begin selling clothing to men on May 1 as a digitally native company, initially through Sundayred.com, which has already gone live. Over time, Sun Day Red will expand its availability in key markets outside North America, at retail, and broaden its product offering to include footwear, women’s and children’s lines. Abeles said shoes will lag behind with a target of early 2025. Asked when Tiger will start wearing the brand’s shoes, he said: “We are working on it at the moment. We expect him to wear it in the spring or summer, if not sooner.”
Abeles, who began his third stint at TaylorMade in 2015, said signing Woods to an equipment deal in 2016 was the first part of “the dream” of having the best player ever to play the game — his words — with with the help of the company’s clubs. . The second part of “the dream” took shape in 2021 in St. Andrews over cold bagels and coffee with agent Mark Steinberg, who subtly hinted that Tiger might consider expanding his relationship with the company.
TaylorMade was part of Adidas for 20 years before it was sold in 2017 and became a private company. They still have sufficient staff with experience in the shoe and clothing industry.
“We’ve always had the perspective that at some point we would approach contiguous areas in our business, and logical and rational contiguous areas in our business are apparel and footwear,” Abeles said. “We have an inherent understanding of how to do this and we also believe that these markets, multi-billion dollar marketplaces, need a new brand, a fresh approach to apparel and golf and a fresh approach to apparel and lifestyle and the connection between the two.”
As a result, they created a separate vertical within the TaylorMade holding company, which is based in San Clemente, California, in Orange County, and not the company’s old headquarters in Carlsbad, near San Diego. There is a separate leadership team separate from TaylorMade.
“Many companies make the mistake of integrating brands into the big mothership, which means you lose your own identity. This brand will have its own identity when we launch it tonight, and it will have its own identity in twenty years.”