Tiger Won't Be Driving His Allure Any Longer

"You know Rick, I'm never going to drive this..." Tiger Woods stands with GM CEO Rick Wagoner in 2006.

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?

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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.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert, a friend of mine who works in the investment community told me that Buick sales during the period of time that Tiger promoted the brand fell over 40%.

  • Greg – I wouldn’t be surprised about that number – Buick is the car that your grandfather drove and they were never able to shed that image.

  • Hey Einstein…you are an expert at everything, including determining whether the deal made sense for Buick. Can you tell your audience, the few losers (which include myself), who visit this blog, what sponsorship deals you have concluded, that would allow you to make such bold judgments. You seem to be an expert in everything, including course design and now sponsorship valuations. You are truly a giant. You don’t really have a clue but you like to make bold assessments about everything. I would like you to provide some data, some hard analysis, which lead you to your conclusions. Or is this just another example of the keyboard outpacing your mind power? I suspect you just make it up as you go along. More of the same dribble from the slob journalist.

  • Yi: Why don’t you find another spot to spout your ill-informed vitriol. Some people read this blog for the information it provides. If you doubt the validity of everything said here, why frequent it?

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