Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by IMAGES PR Intern, Deven Sanders. Stay tuned for much more from this aspiring film maker and recent Spelman graduate.
On Tuesday, golf superstar Tiger Woods announced that the Masters Tournament in April will mark his return to the sport. In his announcement, Tiger said, “The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect.”
The announcement comes nearly a month after his very public apology where he called himself, “irresponsible and selfish.” He stated he wanted to take time off to regroup and become a better man. After revisiting his apology from last month, he reflected on his life after rehabilitation:
“I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment. Although I’m returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.”
While much has been said as to whether Tiger is ready to return to golf, similar questions followed Kobe Bryant in the wake of his sex scandal. We all know that Tiger isn’t the first athlete to have multiple affairs and lose endorsements. Basketball’s former “golden boy” Bryant had a major scandal to overcome – being accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in 2003. Although, the case was dropped, he did admit to having sex with the woman, and like Tiger, held a press conference admitting his infidelities with his wife by his side. Later, Bryant purchased a $4 million dollar ring for his wife Vanessa as a “symbol of recommitment to their vows.”
Though Bryant had a sex scandal, he strove to keep his fans and rebuild his image, proving the completion of his endeavor with the Lakers winning the NBA Finals in 2009. However, Bryant didn’t come out completely unscathed; he lost his endorsement deals with the makers of Nutella and McDonalds, but still managed to keep his deals with Nike and Sprite.
While Nike, Tag Heuer, Gilette and Electronic Arts, Inc. continue to stand by Tiger’s endorsements, both Tag Heuer and Gillette have de-emphasized him in their marketing. PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand severed their relationship completely. His multiple ventures made him one of the highest paid athletes in a sport dominated by Whites, which meant he had, and may still have, more to lose then just his image. His endorsement deals combined brought him more than $100 million dollars a year, approximately 90 percent of his income.
Will Tiger be able to recover and take on more endorsements in the future? Has his behavior tainted his image too much, or will he rebound like Bryant, win another Masters and use his skill to overshadow the scandal? We’ll have to wait and see.