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Nike has stood by Tiger Woods through thick and thin. The sneaker giant has sponsored Woods since 1996, standing by the golfer through sex scandals, a DUI arrest and injuries. Now Nike is basking in “The Tiger Effect” as Woods scored a surprising victory at 2019 Masters Championship this past Sunday. Nike stock increased 4.9% in the week through April 18, boosting its market cap to $140.2 billion, up from $117 billion at the start of 2019.
Woods’ victory at the Masters was also lucrative for Nike founder Phil Knight, who owns 20% of the Oregon-based company. Knight’s fortune rose by $254 million to a total of $35.7 billion. The 81-year-old billionaire retired in 2016 after 52 years, and his 45-year-old son Travis, who runs animation studio LAIKA, has sat on the board since 2015.
As for Woods, his prize is a mere $2.07 million, a drop in the bucket compared to his estimated net worth of $800 million. But the golfer has always made most of his millions off the links: more than 90% of his $1.5 billion in lifetime earnings is from endorsements, personal appearances and golf course design work.
Minutes after Woods’ Masters victory — his first in 14 years — Nike released a celebratory ad that highlighted his career and ended with a clip of a young Woods saying he would beat Jack Nicklaus. Woods is only one Masters win away from beating The Golden Bear’s record. "It's crazy to think a 43-year-old who has experienced every high and every low and has just won his 15th major is chasing the same dream as a 3-year-old," the Nike spot said.
Nike’s stock has been swayed by its star clients before. In February, Nike’s market value fell $1.1 billion after Duke basketball phenom Zion Williamson broke his Nike sneaker less than one minute into a game against rival University of North Carolina.
Nike is Tiger Woods’ largest sponsor, but other sports stocks benefited from The Tiger Effect. Share price for Callaway Golf increased by 2.9% while stock for Acushnet Holdings — the owner of Titleist — surged by 7.5%.