General Motors, facing desperate times in a troubled economy, has ended its endorsement deal with 14-time major golf champion Tiger Woods, the firm announced on Nov. 24. The sponsorship contract, believed to pay Woods $7 million a year, was due to expire at the end of 2009 but instead will conclude at the end of the year under mutual agreement between GM and the global golf star.
Woods has been featured in advertisements for GM products worldwide, notably the Buick automobile brand in China, Canada and the U.S., and has played in many US PGA Tour events sponsored by the auto brand.
"I am very proud of the long standing partnership I've had with GM and have enjoyed being a part of the company's dramatic product evolution. We've had a lot of fun together," Woods said. "We've had a lot of fun together, and I participated in some unique and rewarding activities. We've enjoyed a tremendous partnership over the years, and we will maintain strong ties with the many people at GM we call friends."
GM officials say the ending of the deal is unrelated to the automaker's request for $25 billion in loans from the federal government. "Tiger has been a great friend to GM and a fantastic asset through the years," said GM vice president Mark LaNeve. "This decision is the result of discussions that started earlier in the year and the timing of this agreement with these other activities is purely coincidental."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008