Accenture ends Tiger Woods sponsorship

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2009, 2:00 am

Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. has ended its relationship with Tiger Woods, marking the first major sponsor to cut ties altogether with the golfer since his alleged infidelities surfaced and he announced an indefinite leave from the sport to work on his marriage.

In its first statement since the Woods’ scandal erupted, Accenture said Sunday the golfer is “no longer the right representative” after the “circumstances of the last two weeks.” The move ends a six-year relationship during which the firm credited its “Go on, be a Tiger” campaign with boosting its image significantly. Accenture has used Woods to personify its claimed attributes of integrity and high performance.

“After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising,” Accenture said, adding that “it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family.”

The firm plans to immediately transition to a new advertising campaign, with a major effort scheduled to launch later in 2010. An Accenture spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Accenture’s advertising campaign was almost entirely built around Woods and his success by portraying his greatness on the golf course by making a key putt or chipping out of the rough. If Woods had acknowledged mistakes and said he would be back in a month, Accenture might be able to ride it out, said Rick Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University, in an interview.

But Accenture can’t afford to wait for what could be a long time before Woods returns.

“They had tied everything in their campaign to Tiger Woods it appeared,” he said. “If he’s not golfing, those ads don’t make sense.”

Burton noted that Accenture’s billboards and airport advertising need to be replaced quickly. Without a backup plan, the company might will fall back on something simple and conservative that could highlight its logo.

“It is probably prudent to take a low-key, conservative approach until they determine what their next message is that they want to send,” he said. Going forward, Accenture will have to determine whether it wants to stick with sports or whether its been too burned by what happened and will go another route, Burton added.

“Accenture has made a decision to not continue with their sponsorship. We are disappointed but respect their decision,” said Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent at IMG. The PGA Tour said it would have no comment.

Accenture has been title sponsor since 2001 of the Match Play Championship, a lucrative World Golf Championship event that draws the top 64 players from the world ranking. Accenture earlier this year renewed its sponsorship of the tournament through 2014. The contract is separate from its business endorsement with Woods.

While not terminating their relationship completely, another major Woods sponsor pulled away this weekend. On Saturday, Gillette, which uses the slogan “The best a man can get,” said it won’t air advertisements featuring Woods or include him in public appearances for an unspecified amount of time. Woods was hired by Gillette in 2007 and has been in ads for Gillette Fusion Power razors with titles like “Phenom” and “Champions” with other stars including tennis great Roger Federer and soccer player Thierry Henry.

However, other sponsors continue to stick with Woods for the time being.

Electronic Arts, whose EA Sports division has been selling Tiger Woods video golf games for a decade, said Sunday, “We respect that this is a very difficult, and private, situation for Tiger and his family. At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA TOUR business remains unchanged.” The game’s next edition featuring Woods comes out in six months.

AT&T said Sunday it continues to evaluate its relationship with the golfer. Watch maker Tag Heuer did not return a call Sunday, but its Web site continues to display photos of Woods’ wearing the Link and Golf Watch models.

Nike Inc. said late Friday it supports Woods’ decision to take time off. Gatorade, a unit of PepsiCo Inc., said previously it supports Woods.

AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this story from Jacksonville, Fla., and AP Business Writer Jennifer Malloy Zonnas contributed from Los Angeles.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.