A Nike executive said Thursday that the company is happy for Tiger Woods to stay away from golf for as long as he needs to sort out his private life.
The U.S. sports outfitter's $650 million golf sector has been one of the hardest-hit segments of its business but brand president Charlie Denson said he does not want to see Woods back in action until he is ready.
Nike, Inc., based in Beaverton, Oregon is a long-term sponsor of Woods and is standing by the top-ranked golfer despite the damage done to his image by the high-profile infidelities he publicly apologized for last week.
"We've been very supportive of Tiger since the story broke and we continue to be supportive," Denson told The Associated Press. "He's got issues he needs to deal with and he's dealing with them. We are looking forward to him getting back on the golf course.
"Under the circumstances, the more he deals with the issues and the better he deals with them, the better off he'll be when he does return."
AT&T Inc. and Accenture, dropped Woods completely in the weeks following the lurid revelations and accusations. Others, such as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette and Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer, de-emphasized him in their marketing.
Woods spoke publicly last week to apologize but has not set a date for his return. He said Friday that he was in treatment for 45 days and will return for more therapy to resolve personal problems.
"We've been in touch with his camp," Denson said. "We're very comfortable with where he's at, how he's dealing with it and we're looking forward to his return."