Will more brands follow Rolex to Tiger?

By Randall MellOctober 5, 2011, 11:22 pm

News of Tiger Woods’ endorsement deal with Rolex bodes well for his bruised brand. But if he’s going to attract more sponsors, he’s going to have to start winning again.

Momentum appears to be swinging his way again in the corporate world with reports that he’s also in negotiations with Frys Electronics for another potential deal.

Forbes reported earlier this week that even with a diminished portfolio, Woods is still the world’s most valuable sportsman with a brand worth $55 million, which is $29 million more than the next athlete, tennis star Roger Federer.

Still, business analysts see Woods’ nearly two-year winless streak as the greatest obstacle to rejuvenating a portfolio that has lost five major endorsement deals since news of his marital infidelities broke almost two years ago.

Gillette, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Tag Heuer all ended deals with Woods in the wake of his sex scandal.

Analysts see Woods’ slumping play hindering his search for a new sponsor for his golf bag more than any lingering concerns about his personal life. AT&T’s logo came off Woods’ bag shortly after news of the scandal broke. Woods has been playing with his foundation’s logo on the bag.

The Rolex signing, and Fry’s interest, loom as evidence big business is willing to bet Woods will return to the winner’s circle.

“The Rolex announcement is significant in that it’s not an endemic golf sponsor he signed with, not a golf club or equipment company, but a company in position to choose an athlete from almost any sport,” said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. “Tiger appears to have returned to the consideration set for those kinds of companies.

“Does it mean a bunch of other brands will come knocking at his door immediately? Probably not.”

Why not?

“His inability to come back and perform well limits his crossover appeal,” Swangard said. “So much of his success with brands like Gillette, with financial services companies, is really rooted in him being a world-class athlete and personality. Unfortunately for him, the news continues to center on how he’s not the player that he once was.”

Swangard points to NBA star Kobe Bryant’s strong rebound from personal scandal being tied to his continued athletic excellence.

“Kobe came out and scored 81 points in a game after the controversy, won NBA titles,” Swangard said.

Woods is teeing it up at the Frys.com Open this week in an attempt to win his first tournament since the JBWere Masters in Australia on Nov. 15, 2009. He's slipped to No. 51 in the world rankings.

Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., who specializes in sports says Woods appears to have done the work required to persuade most consumers he’s reformed his personal life, but his game still needs rehabilitation.

“It’s definitely the winning,” Zimbalist said of corporate restraint in investing in Woods again. “As long as he’s behaving himself sexually, I really believe most people are willing to forgive and forget, although you will always have those people who won’t. 

“What most people loved about Tiger was that he was a spectacular golfer who did remarkable things nobody else did, who was terrifically consistent, who was uncanny in his ability to enter a field of 150 players and finish first or second just about every time. That’s why we love sports. We love seeing people pushing up against the boundaries of human capability, of transcending limits and challenging the real dilemma we all have, which is our mortality. That’s what Tiger was doing. Now, he’s an average golfer.”

Average doesn’t excite corporations looking for spokespersons, but the potential Woods will rediscover his greatness intrigues companies like Rolex.

“They’re getting in early, so to speak,” said David Carter, executive director of USC’s Sports Business Institute. “They’re betting on the come, that he will rehabilitate not just his image, but his game, and that they’re getting in at a time when they’re part of the re-ascension to the top.”

And when they’re likely getting a discount rate.

“I’m an economist,” Zimbalist said. “What we believe as economists is that commodities, goods and services, have a price responsive to supply and demand. You can sell most goods and services, but the real issue is what people will pay.

“A big issue in this is we don’t know the terms of the Rolex deal. We don’t know if Tiger is getting paid $1. We don’t know what his obligations are. For me, there’s an unanswered question in this announcement. What is his market value now? We don’t know. The Rolex deal is a positive step, but is it a major step or modest step? Without knowing what the contract is, what his promotional responsibilities are, we can’t say how much of a rebound this is, but it is a rebound.'

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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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.