by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Tiger Woods is expected to sign a new deal with equipment and apparel sponsor Nike that will keep the world's No. 1 golfer as the sport's highest-paid endorser.
"We're down to the very, very short strokes right now. I would expect we would come out with some sort of joint announcement when we get the paperwork signed. I hope this is viewed as a pretty bold statement," Woods' agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com.
Steinberg would not discuss financial terms or length but hinted that the deal could last until Woods' playing career is over.
"He has a long way to go in his career, but I feel with the type of deal we've constructed … I feel confident that he will be with Nike for his entire career," Steinberg said.
Woods also confirmed that he's close to signing a new contract with Nike after finishing in a tie for 65th place at the Memorial Tournament.
"The document's just got to get in front of me," said Woods, who has been with Nike since turning pro in 1996. "Just a matter of time."
Woods' current contract, signed in 2006, is set to expire sometime before the end of the year. A new deal is expected to be signed as soon as the June 13-16 U.S. Open is complete.
Nike has been Woods' biggest and most loyal endorser since he turned professional in 1996, launching their partnership with a five-year deal for a reported $40 million. It was reported that Woods was paid $100 million over five years starting in 2001.
Despite his marital issues in 2009 that cost him endorsements with Gillette, Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade, Nike has remained with Woods.
After the scandal, Woods got his acts together and has now won seven times in the past 15 months, including four times this year as he heads to the U.S. Open at Merion.
Aside from Nike, Woods also has endorsement deals with Rolex, Fuse, EA Sports, NetJets and Kowa, a Japanese company.