Tiger Woods is in the news these days for all the wrong reasons. In case you have been in a cave for the past week, Woods has allegedly had an affair with at least one woman which ultimately led to a domestic disturbance between himself and his wife, Elin. Mixed into this sordid drama is a car crash, a bunch of superficial injuries to Woods and his wife smashing out two of the windows in his car with a golf club.
Some people argue that this is a personal matter between Woods and his wife, and probably his alleged mistress(es). Others contend that Woods is a highly public figure and those who live in the spotlight can't turn the high beams off when things aren't so rosy. Both of the sides of this debate have some good points and it is hard to really decide who is right. But, that is not what I am writing about.
Just like professional cycling, golf exists because of sponsorships. There are big corporate sponsorships like AT&T, Buick and Nike and also lesser sponsors such as the golf companies. Regardless of the size of the sponsorship, the survival of the sport depends on the sponsors.
It is a bit of an oversimplification, but these sponsors give their dollars because of the image of the event or the athlete they are sponsoring. The sponsors want to project a certain image and the event or athlete they choose help them do that.
We saw in the infamous Michael Phelps 'bong' photo that if an athlete's image changes or is tarnished, a sponsor may decide to pull their sponsorship dollars. What remains to be seen in the Tiger Woods situation is if any of his current sponsors feel that his image is no longer a desirable commodity.
So, you can debate whether the general public should be concerned with what is going on in Tiger Woods' world, but his sponsors have every right to pull their money if they feel that Woods no longer fits the image they want to project.