One of the most controversial, yet impressive athletes of all time, is Tiger Woods. By the time he was twenty-one, he won his first masters, which left most of the more established golfers speechless. Woods won seventy-nine tour titles in his first eighteen years as a professional golfer. Many claim that he changed the way people view and play golf altogether. However, that pressure eventually wears a person down, as it did with Tiger Woods. In 2009, allegations of his extramarital affair spread rapidly and caused his image to drastically diminish. The media along with four surgeries, led to Tiger Woods demise, that many did not expect him to come back from, until this year.
As one of the most recognized athletes for over a decade, Woods drove golf forward financially and demographically. He earned over $117 million a year in endorsements alone. Forbes even named him the first athlete to earn $1 billion dollars, something no one expected from a golfer. His drive for the sport was inspiring, and different than any golfer before. This caused an influx in brands wanting to have Woods’ image in all of their advertisements and products. For a while, the companies’ sales boomed with success, until 2009. In 2009, many things about his personal life was revealed and led to mistrust in the brands he represented. But, Tiger Woods is now back!
Nike has been a supporter of Tiger since the beginning of his career. When Nike first endorsed him, Woods had an entire line dedicated to him including golf clubs, balls, bags, and apparel; he was the face of that brand. All but his apparel line was dropped with his issues in 2009. However, many of his sponsors, such as Gatorade, AT&T, General Motors, and Gillette, were not as supportive and immediately revoked their endorsements with him.
Towards the end of 2017, the light began to shine on him again, and companies quickly noticed that as well. Bridgestone offered him a sponsorship, and the sales of their golf balls have increased by 115% so far in 2018. TaylorMade also became a sponsor for Woods, and their spokesperson claimed that his image is so well known and because of his recent success, they do not have to advertise their products if he uses them in a tournament. He still faces difficulty gaining sponsorship from companies with a strong female stakeholder base due to his personal life, but many believe that he is on his way back to success especially with his recent win at the PGA tour Championship.