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General Motors is Bailing Out on Tiger Woods

Woods, already a living legend with 14 major championships under his belt, carried the Buick logo on his golf bag for the last nine years. The endorsement deal, estimated at $7 million a year, was to expire at the end of 2009. GM chose to opt out of the contract, a year before it was supposed to end.

Both parties, though, were reportedly amicable about the break up. GM is cutting costs and trying to survive sinking auto sales, while Tiger wanted more time for himself and his soon-to-be-born second child.

Woods has been an image-changing representative of Buick, long regarded as a brand for older car owners. During the launch of the Enclave SUV a few years ago, market research revealed that almost 80 percent who bought the Enclave had not been Buick owners. However, some marketing experts believe that the Tiger-Buick deal was a mismatch from the start. The age of the average Buick driver is around 60 years-old and the idea of Tiger Woods cruising around in a Buick was a bit of a stretch. Although the demographics of Buick car buyers may have changed, it did nothing from stopping the overall decline of the brand.

GM has also gone as far as cutting back on its deal providing courtesy cars at PGA Tour events. GM is so worried about costs that it reduced advertising during the 2009 Super Bowl although they still plan to air ads for the NFL. GM also has excused itself from the Oscars and Emmy Awards in 2009, after a decade of supporting both events.

Buick will still remain as the title sponsor to two PGA Tour Events—the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines and the Buick Open outside Detroit; both tournaments have given Tiger Woods a combined 8 first place finishes.

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