AT&T ends Tiger Woods sponsorship
AT&T Inc. said Thursday it would no longer sponsor Tiger Woods, becoming the latest company to sever ties with the world's top golfer in the wake of allegations of marital infidelity.
The phone company's logo appeared on his golf bag, and Woods has also been the host of the AT&T National PGA Tour event since it started in 2007. The phone company said it would continue to sponsor the event, which will be held in Newtown Square, Pa., in July.
AT&T, which is based in Dallas, did not comment on its reasons for dropping Woods or how much his contracts were worth.
Woods's agent, Mark Steinberg, had no comment on AT&T's decision.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said that the Tiger Woods Foundation will continue to be the beneficiary of the AT&T National, under a contract that runs through 2014.
Woods announced on Dec. 11 that he was taking an indefinite leave from the sport. He has not been seen in public since the Nov. 27 automobile accident at his Florida home that precipitated reports alleging multiple affairs and marriage troubles.
Consulting firm Accenture dropped the athlete two weeks ago, saying he was "no longer the right representative" of the company's values.
Gillette, a unit of the Procter & Gamble Co., stopped short of saying it was dropping Woods earlier in the month, but it was unclear what role would be left for Woods after the company indicated he would be "phased out" from television and print advertising, as well as from public appearances.
Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, a unit of luxury goods empire LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said it would "downscale" its use of the golfer's image, just a few days after publicly declaring it was sticking by Woods.
Not all sponsors have abandoned Woods. Sports card and memorabilia maker Upper Deck Co. said it would continue its relationship with the PGA player of the year.
Electronic Arts came out with a statement in the days immediately following the accident in support of their decade-long relationship with Woods, and indicating they would respect his privacy at the current time.
Phil Knight, chairman and co-founder of Nike Inc., indicated in an interview with Sports Business Journal this month that the company was prepared to ride out the current turmoil.
A spokesman from TLC Vision Corp., another sponsor, told Bloomberg that were would be no change in their relationship with Woods, although the company filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
The economic fallout of the extramarital allegations has come during a month where Woods has continued to earn accolades for his prowess on the course. He was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Decade, and honoured as the PGA Player of the Year for the 10th time in the last 13 years.
Woods turned 34 on Wednesday.
With files from The Associated Press