Since the Tiger Woods marital scandal, many of his sponsors have cut back on their use of the world's first billion dollar athlete (such as Gillette and Accenture, which completely cut ties with him). Nike, however, has maintained that they will not end their partnership with him. Some believe that Nike will not suffer from the decision, but others question how it is possible for Nike to avoid any detriments.
Critics of Nike's decision point to the fact that a lot of golf apparel is sold to women purchasing gifts for their husbands, fathers, or brothers. And, the critics argue, these women simply will not be willing to buy Tiger Woods merchandise in light of his marital infidelities. Furthermore, the final round of the U.S. Open (golf's second major of the year) falls on Father's Day every year, and usually provides a big boost to golf merchandise, a boost that many suspect will not Nike this year.
North American sales have already dipped 6% from Q1 to Q2 2010, with no big sales-boosting event in the third quarter that could help the company.