By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
August 11, 2011
Tiger Woods is the last American to win the PGA Championship—he did so in 2007. Around that time, about the peak of his popularity, Woods was earning an estimated $100 million annually from endorsements and marketing deals alone and was rumored to turn down 100 offers per day from prospective sponsors. These days, he’s happy to have any new names on his website and bag, such as that of Japanese concern Kowa, which signed him in June to promote their heat rub used to relieve muscle and joint pain.
Last week, it was announced that Woods and watchmaker Tag Heuer have ended their sponsorship deal, and confirmed by Woods agent Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports Management. While Woods still has Kowa and major sponsors including Nike, EA Sports, NetJets, TLC, and Upper Deck in his portfolio, Tag is the latest blue chip defection from the Woods camp, following on the heels of Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade. The Tag Heuer contract was reportedly worth more than $10 million, bringing Woods’ estimated total tab of lost sponsorships to $25 million.
Of course, this isn’t Tiger’s only trip into Headlineville this week. Following Scott’s win in Ohio on Sunday, CBS’ David Feherty conducted an interview with Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams, who now carries Scott’s bag. Williams, who caddied for Tiger for 13 years, called Scott’s victory the “best win I’ve ever had.” While Woods, Williams, and Scott seem to have made amends this week, with Williams issuing an apology and Woods supposedly texting both his former caddie and Scott to congratulate them on last week’s victory, should Woods and Scott somehow survive Friday’s cut with similar scores and land in the same grouping on Saturday, the media frenzy around the group will be anything but Southern comfort.