Why did Tiger care so much? He knew Buick's objectives. The General
Motors line of cars that most people associate with older,
well-to-do drivers wanted to get back to the image it enjoyed in
its heyday, when people aspired to own a Buick, says Pete Ternes,
director of communications for the car line. A company endorser
since 1999, Tiger
already had taken a keen interest in the company strategy. He
educated himself about the line, made promotional appearances, and
helped determine his role in television advertising. General Motors
designed a concept car, the Buick Bengal, with Tiger in mind. The
car won best-in-show honors at the General Motors auto show in
January and at the New York Auto Show last spring.
"Tiger takes a very active role with us," said Ternes, "and he has
from the beginning." Buick's agreement with Tiger is worth an
estimated $20 million over five years.
Tiger also cared enough, some say, to skip a PGA tournament in
deference to a sponsor. When he bowed out in May on the MasterCard
Colonial in Fort Worth to play the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in
Germany, he not only earned a $2.5 million appearance fee (a
practice prohibited in PGA Tour events), but he also contributed to
lower ticket sales and television ratings for an event sponsored by
MasterCard, chief rival to Woods' sponsor American Express.
Coincidence? Woods isn't saying, but few people think so.
Though not commenting directly on Woods' German excursion, Judy
Tenzer, spokeswoman for American Express, said the company, which
pays Woods an estimated $5 million a year, is very happy with its
association. Why not? Woods might be the ultimate expression of
American Express' slogan, "Do More."
The image of someone who will do more is one Woods and his advisers
have carefully cultivated. After all, Woods has more at stake than
any single person or company that he associates with. The companies
he endorses are trying to sell more of their product. Woods is his
product, and he wants it to be known worldwide.