But Mr. Woods has been at the center of a media storm since last week, kicked off by a published account of an alleged affair and followed by an early morning car accident. Controversy grew as he refused to talk to the Florida Highway Patrol about the accident and was buffeted this week by further revelations of alleged marital infidelity.
He released a statement Wednesday on his Web site saying he regrets his recent “transgressions.”
A representative of Chicago-based consultancy Accenture Ltd., another company that hired Mr. Woods to endorse its brand, was not available for comment. As of Wednesday, Mr. Woods was still featured prominently on the firm’s Web site.
Sports marketing expert John Rowady said it would be surprising to see any companies drop sponsorship deals based on what’s been reported by the media. While Mr. Woods’ credibility may have taken a hit, “he’s going to recover from this and there are going to be other sponsors who will want to be with him,” said Mr. Rowady, president of Chicago-based sports marketing firm Revolution. “He’s a model athlete.”
Former sports agent Steve Zucker also believes Mr. Woods’ major sponsorship deals will remain intact.
“I think the kind of companies that he’s tied himself up with are pretty much married to him for the length of those (sponsorship) contracts, and they are long ones,” said Mr. Zucker, who once represented Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears.
Mr. Woods has not publicly discussed what transpired early Friday morning when his Cadillac Escalade collided with a fire hydrant and a tree outside his Florida home, but he referred in his statement to “letting my family down” and “personal sins.” He offered his “profound apology” to those who have supported him throughout his career.
Speculation, particularly on gossip Web sites, has centered on allegations that a domestic dispute was at the root of the crash. Mr. Woods called the rumors “utterly false and malicious.”
Regardless, dodging the public and the Florida police appears not to have shaken corporate confidence in the star.
Nike Inc. said in a statement that its “relationship remains unchanged” with Mr. Woods. Procter & Gamble’s Gillette unit issued a similar statement, saying it will not change its existing marketing program. Electronic Arts Inc., TLC Vision Corp. and Net Jets Inc. also said they were maintaining their endorsement arrangements with Mr. Woods.