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Tiger Wood's troubles keep growing. The golf star announced Friday that he was leaving the sport "indefinitely" to work on his marriage. Now comes news that wife Elin Nodegren has purchased a $2.2 million home in Sweden and has stopped wearing her wedding ring. But Nordegren isn't the only one wavering on Woods. Prior to his recent PR fiasco, the golfer was reportedly earning $110 million a year as a corporate pitchman. While many of the companies that Woods endorses were quick to offer support in the days after his November 27 car accident, the picture has changed. Here's a status update:
SPONSORS THAT HAVE ALREADY CUT TIES
• Accenture: Yesterday, the management consulting firm announced via its website that it was ending a six-year partnership with Woods. "Given the circumstances of the last two weeks," the statement read, Woods is no longer the "right representative" for the company.
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SPONSORS THAT ARE WAVERING
• AT&T: Among other sponsorship deals, the mobile provider has partnered with Woods for the star's charity foundation. Though AT&T initially backed Woods, it's reconsidering its support: "We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him," spokeswoman Susan Bean said in a company statement.
• Electronic Arts: The world's largest video-game company — and maker of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour game — continues to back the sports star, if tepidly: "At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA Tour business remains unchanged,” says a company spokesperson. But Forbes columnist Michael Ozanian says EA is already planning to drop Woods "regardless of what they're saying now."
• Gatorade: The beverage giant claims its recent decision to drop the line of "Tiger – Focus" drinks that is branded around Woods was finalized before the scandal. The Daily Beast reports, however, that the company "seized on the golfer’s travails" to end "a deal that had already gone bad," and that Woods' agent worked feverishly to spin the situation.
• Gillette: The Proctor and Gamble division says it will be taking a "time out" from advertising with Woods' image, but has not yet dropped the golfer: "We support him as he takes a break from his professional career," company spokesman Mike Norton said in an interview with the Boston Globe. "That's why we're supporting him by limiting his role in our marketing programs." But reports suggest the company is already exploring ways to scale back its contract to Woods.
SPONSORS THAT ARE STANDING FIRM
• NetJets: Private aircraft leasing company NetJets plans to remain partners with Woods. "Tiger Woods is one of the premiere athletes in the world," chairman David Sokol said. "We are proud to have him involved with NetJets."
• Nike: Sports scandals are "part of the game," Nike chairman Phil Knight tells Reuters. The company, which will continue to endorse Woods, believes that the scandal surrounding the golf star will eventually blow over. "When his career is over, you'll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip," says Knight.
• Tag Heuer: Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, which has sponsored Woods since 2002, will continue to support the golf star. Spokesman Mariam Sylla says that, despite the scandal, Woods is still "the best in his domain." The company continues "to respect his performance in the sport," she says, and his personal life is "not our business."
• TLC Vision: The laser-eye surgery chain says it will not drop its partnership with Woods. "Our relationship with him continues without change," says spokesman James Hyland. "This is a private matter and we have no further comment."
SPONSORS THAT HAVEN'T COMMENTED AT ALL
• Upper Deck: The sports-card maker declined to comment on the status of Woods' sponsorship endorsement.
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