According to a short report in the Toronto Star today, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has been in talks with several golfers about endorsements for their products. This seems pretty speculative, especially the headline about luring Tiger to Canada. Woods hasn’t played in a Canadian Open since 2001. That’s a long time now. Who knew all it would take was an e-mail device to get him back here. Wonder if they will do a co-branding deal with Nike and add a swoosh to the BlackBerry.
Anyway, here’s the the key part of the story:
Is there a chance that a message sent by BlackBerry could entice Tiger Woods to play in a future Canadian Open?
A golf industry rumour has Research In Motion, the Canadian company behind the wildly popular communications gadget, being interested in hiring pro golfers, possibly including Woods, to become a product pitchman.
Given the way Woods favoured Buick-sponsored tournaments with his presence when the car company was one of his main sponsors, it makes sense that RIM’s Jim Balsillie, a golfer, golf fan and supporter of the Canadian Open, would hope Woods might end up back in Canada as an offshoot of the deal.
Mark Steinberg, agent for the world’s most recognizable athlete, indicated that RIM has had discussions with the International Management Group, which represents a number of top golfers, including Woods, but said that no offer has been made to or for the world No.1 player.
“We know each other and we’ve had discussions, but there hasn’t been any proposals made,” Steinberg said of Balsillie at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, where Woods yesterday successfully returned to competition after eight months away from the game.
A couple of key issues here. First of all, RIM’s main market isn’t Canada, so there’s no reason to think Tiger would come to a tournament (the Canadian Open) with which RIM has nothing to do with. In fact, Jim Balsillie has quietly told those in the industry that he wants no involvement with the tournament, though he’s played in the pro-am in both of the last two years. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, my sources say there’s nothing to the story.
There may be other ways to get Tiger to Canada, but waiting for a deal with RIM might be hoping against hope. Don’t hold your breath.