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Accenture Dumps Woods — "Be A Tiger" Takes A New Meaning

Could this be retitled: Focus on what to do next -- hook up with another perky blonde

Could this be retitled: Focus on what to do next -- hook up with another perky blonde

While some readers were discussing morality clauses in the contracts of Tiger Woods, Accenture apparently used its clause  to get out of their high-profile deal with Woods. This wasn’t just commercials. A few years ago, my sister, who worked for Accenture at the time, went to an event in Miami after the Masters (Woods’ win over Chris Dimarco) where Woods gave a lengthy speech to execs and key clients.

Regardless, the question has come up about whether Tiger would have had the influence to keep a morality clause out of his deals. I think that’s unlikely. If you are a company negotiating with Woods — and paying a premium for his ultra-clean, pro-family image, as well as his abilities on the golf course — and suddenly Mark Steinburg says, “Hey, don’t think we’re comfortable with that morality clause,” what message would that send? It would appear to say that there’s something going on in Tiger’s life that could come out and embarrass a business. And that wouldn’t really be particularly smart when negotiating a multi-million dollar, multi-year deal.

Interestingly, most of these contracts, I’m told, now have morality clauses for the companies as well, meaning the athlete, star, etc., can get out of the deal if the company pulls a Stanford Financial or a Madoff. So these things work both ways, and I’m sure there’s no debate on whether Tiger violated his morality clause when there’s a chick on the cover of News of the World saying she banged Tiger while his beloved father died. Nothing says you’re a tight, close family like hooking up with a blonde chick you met in Vegas while your father dies of prostate cancer.

Yesterday I was watching TSN’s “The Reporters,” which had a bunch of guys who never write about golf — The Star’s Damien Cox, ESPN’s Michael Farber and the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons — talking about Woods. They all agreed that Tiger had not done anything comparable to say Michael Vick and that he should be able to come back whenever he wants. Of course that’s true in one sense — he didn’t fight any dogs to the death. And while he can surely come back when he chooses, I don’t think he’ll ever be the $100-million man.

His status as a pitchman is damaged beyond fixing at this point.  He has his $1-billion and he could quite likely make $10-million a year on the course, but don’t expect him to return to the point where he has a handful of companies paying him $10M a piece to use his image. It is broken like a dropped mirror. He’s worth a fraction of what he once was.

Sure Woods the golfer can return to the game. But Woods the sports and markting icon is finished.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • With all due respect, I could not disagree more.

    When he decides to come back and continue his domination, the line-up to sign him starts all over again and the bidding war begins. He put Nike on the map in regards to golf equipment…..he could put TaylorMade or Callaway over the top. Bottom line is he’s a champion. Champions will always have an easier time shaking past indiscretions.

  • The United States in particular is the land of second chances provided their “hero/ role model/ celebrity” provides the right amount of contrition, transparency, and honesty.

    Imagine if Tiger Woods genuinely changes his ways, has a honest and transparent relationship with his wife and family, and then performs on the golf course. There are many different ways / public image Tiger could return to the top of the sports and marketing position. Perhaps not in a squeaky clean family image but a far more realistic, true, and genuine brand. A whole host of sponsors would line up to be a part of that package.

    But and this is a BIG but, he needs to actually change his ways and develop a completely different relationship with the media / public. He is not off to a good start on that front.

  • I agree with 3 putt

    We forgive and forget…time passes and something else comes up and he will be back to making the money he once did, but probably with different types of companies.

    Ashley Madison already offered him 5 mill, I am sure there are some marketing gurus out there for Trojan condoms, but do you think he really cares anymore….clearly not or he wouldn’t have put himself out there in this way.

    I heard that he owned a zillion shares of google before it took off, so maybe he thinks the other stuff just isnt that important anymore

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