Fact Check

Nikes Owns the Rights to Tiger Woods' Name?

Rumor: Nike legally owns the rights to Tiger Woods' name.

Published Mar 13, 2015


Claim:   Tiger Woods named his restaurant "The Woods Jupiter" because Nike legally owns the rights to his name.


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, March 2015]


Origins:   In March 2015, a rumor started circulating online that golfer Tiger Woods chose to name his new restaurant "The Woods Jupiter" (rather than "Tiger Woods Jupiter" or some variant thereof) because the Nike shoe company owns the rights to his name. The rumor got started when developer Nicholas Mastroianni II spoke to Golf.com about the professional golfer's new business ventures:

The developer was asked about the cumbersome name, The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club. He referred to it as Woods Jupiter and expects that's what most people will call it. Mastroianni said he was told that Nike "has the rights to the name Tiger Woods," which prevented Woods using his first and last name in the restaurant name. (Nike and Greenspan, Woods's spokesman, did not immediately respond to inquiries about the rights to use Woods's name in commercial ventures.)

He is aware of the power of the name. Mastroianni said that anytime he wants to use Woods's name in a press release or anything similar he needs permission from Woods's business people. "It's over the top," he said.

While Mastrioianni undoubtedly has to jump through a few hoops to appease Tiger Woods and the golfer's business people, it appears that the developer has been misinformed about the naming rights. Both Mark Steinberg, Tiger's manager, and a spokesman for Nike have confirmed that Woods is free to use his name on the restaurant:

"I can't imagine how this could have been communicated this way. It is wholly inaccurate and categorically false," Steinberg said. "Tiger owns his own name and always had. He can use his name in any form he chooses. Nike would confirm that if asked." Later Wednesday, a Nike spokeswoman did just that, saying, "Nike does not own the name 'Tiger Woods.' We can confirm that Mark Steinberg's comments are accurate."

Last updated:   13 March 2015


    Bamberger, Michael.   "Tiger Woods Has Been Working on His Game ."
    Golf.com.   6 March 2015.

    Hoggard, Rex.   "Steinberg: Nike Doesn't Own the Name 'Tiger Woods'."

    The Golf Channel.   11 March 2015.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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