Tiger Woods is still on top, even when he’s not.
Yesterday Tiger Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines due to aggravating a lingering back ailment. This is the 3rd time in his last nine tournament appearances that Tiger has had to withdraw from competition.
Tiger has not won a Major championship since 2008 and has been known more for his life off the course than on the links.
This coupled with the rise of young and talented Tour members such as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Speith begs the question, is Tiger Woods still the most marketable golfer today?
The question is not if Tiger Woods is the most polarizing or the most well known golfer on the planet, which he obviously is, the question is whether he is the most marketable.
Here are some quick facts about Tiger’s recent endorsement and sponsorship history.
Since 2009 Tiger has lost sponsorship deals with AT&T, Accenture, PepsiCo, Gillette, TagHeur and Electronic Arts. The Electronic Arts deal had been in place for over 16 versions of the golf video game that bore his name.
However, Tiger still raked in $55 million in endorsements through June 2014 according to Forbes. He has lucrative deals with Rolex, Upper Deck and of course NIKE. Woods singlehandedly built the NIKE Golf brand into the giant it is today, making $791 million in the fiscal year 2013. Woods recently signed a four-year lucrative endorsement deal with Hero MotoCorp, the worlds largest two wheeled vehicle manufacturer, in December 2014. The deal is reportedly worth $8 million per year.
Woods is now 56th in the World Golf Rankings this week, and according to ESPN, Woods needs to be in the top 50 to qualify for the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral the first week of March. The numbers from 2014 do not get much better. Woods had one top 25 PGA Tour event finish, was cut twice and was forced to withdraw twice and finished 218 in FedEx Cup Standings.
Understandably, Tiger took a hit on Forbes Magazines annual countdown lists, but even though he has not won a major in 6 years, the fall was ridiculously small . He was the #21 celebrity, #31 celebrity in endorsements, #7 celebrity in the press and #57 celebrity in social media. He was also the #6 on The World’s Highest Paid Athlete list. These numbers have nothing to do with sports but then they do point to Woods still being a sports celebrity of the highest order.
Though Woods has been abysmal on the links, he is still the undisputed American king of sports marketability.