Tiger Woods leaves PGA in economic limbo

New York: Golfer Tiger Woods was at the top of his game and now his career seems to be in freefall.

His bizarre accident and admission of infidelity has clashed headlong into his perfectionist image, an image that has made him the first billion-dollar athlete.

“Tiger Effect” Means More Revenue from Tournaments, Broadcasts; Even If He Returns, Will He Retain His Midas Touch?

Watchmaker Tag Heuer has said it is re-considering its sponsorship deal with Woods, and the sport overall seems to be heading towards an economic limbo created by Woods self-imposed exile.

Before the sex scandal, Tiger pulled in another 110 million dollars annually in endorsements, including 30 million dollars a year Nike, five million dollars a year from Gillette and 24 million dollars a year from videogame maker EA Sports.

On Sunday, Accenture, a business consulting firm, became the first sponsor to drop him.

The company that spent 21 million dollars on advertising so far this year – most featuring Woods – says he is “no longer the right representative.”

The CBS quotes sports agents as saying that they expect others to follow Accenture’s lead.

For now, his other sponsors are sticking with him. AT andT and luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer both say they are evaluating their relationship with Woods. Nike, whose golf equipment, marketed around Woods, brings in $800 million a year says, “We look forward to his return to golf.”

Perhaps no one is looking forward to Tiger’s return more than the sponsors of the San Diego Open, formerly the Buick Open, at Torrey Pines – the first PGA tour event of the year Woods usually attends.