After yesterday’s news apparently Tiger can come out and admit, as some reports have suggested, that he drives a Porsche and not a Buick Allure.
What’s the real news behind Woods’ split with General Motors? There’s a couple of interesting tidbits here. First, it proves that in difficult times, companies need to show ROI when putting a few million into a golfer or golf tournament. Did the affiliation with Tiger Woods really sell Buicks for GM? Hard to imagine. Now BMW might have been a better fit, but I doubt anyone really thought Tiger drove a Buick. How many times have you been watching a golf tournament with your buddies and a Woods’ Buick commercial came on and one of your friends said, “I don’t believe he drives that.” No one did. And for GM, which was paying Woods upwards of $7.5 million each year, it is hard to imagine the company got a lot of value out of him. Certainly not enough value at a time when the company faces bankruptcy and the possibility of laying off thousands of workers. In those circumstances one has to figure hanging onto a deal with Woods sends about the same message as having a bunch of executives fly to Washington to beg for $25 billion. See — they’ve learned.
Point two is more Canadian specific. Though the PGA Tour continues to insist the Buick Open in Michigan at the end of June is still going forward, it is hard to imagine the company will continue to put upwards of $6 million into an event given its financial difficulties. The Royal Canadian Golf Association has already said it wants that date — especially given that it isn’t a week after the British Open, and just prior to the stretch involving the PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup. The organization told me as much a month or so ago. Find that story here.
Is the RCGA and Royal Bank making a bid for the date, especially given their stability versus that of GM? Apparently they’ve told the PGA Tour that they would be interested in the Buick date should something happen — and I’m sure GM wants out of the date. The PGA Tour might even want GM out — Detroit isn’t exactly corporate hospitality central these days. And who wants to play a golf tournament in a city that looks like it is at the centre of a depression?