By USA TODAY
Tiger Woods, the former 14-time major champion, is now a 15-time one, having won the Masters for the fifth time. Plagued by scandal and a body that seems to deteriorate by the year, Woods has lost most of his major sponsors. However, he still carries branded logos on his shirt, bag and clubs.
After a scandal that triggered his divorce, Woods was dropped by sponsors who paid him tens of millions of dollars. These included consultancy Accenture, AT&T, Buick and Gillette. Nike stayed the course. Its founder and former CEO, Phil Knight, would not leave Woods no matter how bad things got. The decision was never fully explained.
Woods has a golf ball endorsement deal with an unlikely candidate: Bridgestone. The Japanese company is barely known in the U.S. golf world. Almost every other well-known golfer plays Titleist, Taylor Made or Callaway balls. He signed the deal in 2016 and first played it in a tournament that he sponsors once a year in the Bahamas.
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Woods has two more well-known golf equipment deals. The first is the Nike deal that survived his scandals. He first signed with them in 1996 and again in 2013 – for $200 million. Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN at the time, “We’re comfortable with where we ended up and the career trajectory that Tiger will be on with Nike. I’m thrilled we were able to complete this deal.” He wears the Nike symbol on his shirt.
Woods has a relatively new club deal with Taylor Made, cut in 2017. It has just started to sell the irons it made for Tiger for $1,000. When the clubs were released a few weeks ago, Woods said, “Consumers have never had the opportunity to play irons like mine … until now.” The set is branded the P-7TW Milled Grind irons.
Woods has a sports drink sponsor. Gatorade dominates the market. And he signed a deal with Monster Energy last year. A Tiger Woods version of the energy drink will be introduced this year.
Several other sponsors are barely known to the public. One is the Full Swing golf simulator. With a base price of $25,000, it is hardly for every golfer. Woods is also an investor in the company and helped invent the product.
Upper Deck, best known for baseball cards, is among Woods’s smaller sponsors. Hero MotoCorp, an India-based company, is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. It is, however, barely known in the United States.
The firm’s CEO admitted as much. “As Brand Hero keeps expanding its global footprint across continents, our aim is also to take Golf to newer demographics and bring innovations to the game. Tiger will continue to play a valuable role in this exciting journey,” said Dr. Pawan Munjal, Hero MotoCorp’s chair, managing director and chief executive.
Another little-known sponsor is Kowa, a pain relief company based in Japan. Given Woods’s history of injuries, this makes sense.
Finally, the biggest Woods sponsor is himself. Look for the TW logo on his hat.
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