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Nike will stop making golf equipment as Tiger Woods's star fades
[NEW YORK] Nike Inc, the world's largest maker of sporting goods, will stop selling golf equipment, striking another blow to a pastime hurt by slowing participation rates.
The company will shift away from golf clubs, balls and bags, but it will continue selling footwear and apparel for the sport, according to a statement Wednesday. Sales at the Nike Golf division fell 8.2 per cent to US$706 million in the fiscal year that ended in May, making it the company's worst performing major category.
Nike built its golf business around the stardom of Tiger Woods, who helped draw interest to the sport in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But the athlete took a break from golf after a car accident outside his Florida home in 2009. Following an admission of marital infidelity, he returned to the sport but never regained his earlier dominance.
Woods, 40, has used Nike equipment, and the company sells a clothing line under his name. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company said on Wednesday it will continue to innovate in apparel and shoes. But golf's appeal has slumped in recent years, especially among many millennials.
Golf ranked as Nike's smallest category last year, below action sports, women's training and other segments. Sales of the division have fallen for three straight years.
"We're committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel," said Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike brand.
"We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf."