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."