Head to toe, indeed. Tiger uses his brain to help his partners and
he walks the extra mile for them, too. His sponsors say he offers
them the same single-minded commitment and confidence that he gives
his golf game, and as in his game, not just because they pay him
top dollar to do so. Rival golfer Rocco Mediate has been quoted
saying Woods is an absolutely fearless competitor "who wants to
beat your ass, whether it's for $10,000 or $10 million." He is
focused, driven, with a will to win that other athletes find
awe-inspiring. "I know what I want to accomplish, and I know how to
get there," Woods has said. "The ultimate goal is to be the
That competitive spirit can be powerful for the companies he
endorses. Take EA Sports, maker of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf
video game. At his own suggestion, Tiger spent hours helping the
company revamp his video-game swing to match his new way of moving
on the real-life links (see Swing Away, page 77). All because he
wanted his game to be as perfectly real and perfectly satisfying to
gamers as possible.
He'll go to the mat for his partners, as he did late last year
during his much-publicized tiff with the PGA Tour. Buick is one of
Tiger's sponsors. Mercedes-Benz is a big sponsor of the Tour. Under
a PGA agreement, Mercedes was running tape of Tiger in its
television ads promoting the Mercedes Championships, ostensibly
congratulating the golfer on his latest tournament win. Tiger
balked. "Do they have to congratulate the guy nine times?"
Steinberg said at the time. "Do you think it's fair that they can
use his name like that because they're affili-ated with the Tour?
Is that fair? It's about rights. It's not about money. It's more
about equity and fairness."