When Nike Signed Jason Day Because Brooks Koepka Wasn’t Relevant Enough on Sundays of the Majors

Brooks Koepka and Jason Day
Brooks Koepka and Jason Day walk from the second tee during the first round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 26, 2018 in Avondale, LA. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Looking back at this ESPN article, I’m left with one question: Was Nike’s decision maker fired?

In this report, dated Sep. 13, 2016, Darren Rovell writes that Nike had signed Jason Day to a massive million-dollar deal in order to become “relevant on Sunday of the majors,” as – in the absence of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy – the swoosh brand “has had to PUSH (some guy named) Brooks Koepka” at the retail level.

Nike has signed the best golfer in the world — again.

“Sources tell ESPN.com that the world’s largest shoe and apparel company has signed Jason Day to wear its shoes and apparel, including its hat…

“Day might not be in the same marketing category as Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, but Nike can sell plenty of golf shirts by using Day as a model.

“With Woods out, and McIlroy’s game not up to par, Nike has had to push Brooks Koepka as its next name at retail, but he only has one PGA Tour win .

In Day, Nike hopes to find more relevance on Sunday of the majors. A Nike endorser hasn’t won a major in the past eight, the longest drought since 2003-04. And Tiger’s last PGA Tour came more than three years ago.

“Nike agreed to shutter its golf equipment business after it finished fiscal 2016 with $706 million in revenue, its worst year since 2011. While it never achieved significant market share in the equipment business, its golf clothing business is a market leader and profitable.”

Of course, it was Koepka who made Nike relevant once again on (multiple) Sundays of (multiple) majors – starting at Erin Hills, and through Bethpage Black, all while becoming the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer.

Day, meanwhile, has become far less relevant on “Sunday of the majors,” or any Sunday for that matter, having been shutout from a second major title in the 10 contested since, while winning just two more regular tour events in nearly three full seasons.

Rovell also wrote that Nike hadn’t won a major in the past eight… Since that report, though, Nike has won seven of the next 10 – including the last six straight, with Koepka , Woods, Francesco Molinari, and Patrick Reed all wearing the Nike brand in the winner’s circle.


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