Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

Major sponsor Gillette to 'limit' Tiger Woods's role

Tiger Woods at a Gillette-sponsored event in Melbourne, Australia, on 11 November
The value of the Gillette deal was not being revealed immediately

Gillette has become the first major sponsor of Tiger Woods to distance itself from the golf star after the storm over his private life.

It said it would limit Woods's role in its marketing while the champion took time off to repair his personal life.

The golfer has announced he is taking an indefinite break from professional golf to tackle his problems.

In a statement released on his website, he admitted to "infidelity", after weeks of press speculation.

Woods promotes brands ranging from AT&T to Nike, an array of endorsements which helped him become the first sports star to earn $1bn (£0.6bn), the Associated Press reports.

The personal life of the 14-times major winner hit the headlines two weeks ago when he crashed a car into a tree outside his Florida home.

Sordid headlines connecting him to several women have since followed and, although Gillette says its move was made out of respect for his privacy, it could be a sign of things to come, the BBC's Andy Gallacher reports from Miami.

'Helping him'

Nike said late on Friday it supported his decision to withdraw from professional golf while AT&T said it was evaluating its relationship with Woods.

Label of Gatorade Tiger Focus drink
Pepsi said its decision to drop Tiger Focus was made months ago

The golfer will be phased out from Gillette's television and print advertising, and from public appearances and other efforts linking the two entities together, said Gillette spokesman Damon Jones.

"This is supporting his desire to step out of the public eye and we're going to support him by helping him to take a lower profile," he added.

Gillette has had a contract with Woods since 2007. Details of its value and length were not being made public immediately.

Soft drink brand Gatorade announced on Wednesday it was dropping Tiger Focus, a Woods-endorsed drink, but said the decision was not related to revelations about the golfer's private life.

Gatorade said the decision to axe the drink had been taken a few months ago.

According to the research firm Nielsen Co, Tiger Woods has not been seen in a prime-time television commercial since a Gillette ad on 29 November.

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