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Wrong swing

It’s been a little over a fortnight that Tiger Woods drove his SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree and landed straight into hot water. By the time he regained consciousness, the world that the champion once knew had changed.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2009 21:38 IST
Kumkum Dasgupta

It’s been a little over a fortnight that Tiger Woods drove his SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree and landed straight into hot water. By the time he regained consciousness, the world that the champion once knew had changed.

I am neither a golf aficionado nor a Tiger fan. Yet, I can’t understand why some of his corporate sponsors have deserted a champion like him. The reasons have ranged from Woods not being the “right representative” for their products to his now possibly long hiatus from the game.

I was under the impression that sportsmen of Tiger’s calibre earn these multi-billion dollar sponsporships because they are the best at what they do and not because they have a zero-friction personal lives. No money, I am sure, would have flowed into Tiger’s lair, if he were not the first — a champion of champions — but only a faithful husband and a doting father. I could still understand all this if he had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Of course, a superstar’s personal life is a part of his celebrityhood. But that can’t be the criterion to judge a champion. Brands routinely dump their ambassadors when they perform badly as professionals and that’s understandable: you are as good as your last swing/stroke/kick.

Meanwhile, the PGA tour, I am told, will suffer because fans don’t want to watch any event minus Tiger. That’s the kind of devotion that he brought to the field. I wonder how the brands will react if, hopefully, a ‘born again’ Tiger makes a comeback. Oh, I forgot, ‘born again’ can also be a good sales pitch.

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