x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Tiger Woods' new-found golf form is no indicator of his marketability

Wins cannot expunge the stain on Tiger Woods' reputation, though there is no doubt he has begun to re-emerge as a pitchman as the victories have piled up, writes Steve Elling.

Tiger Woods is back as world No 1 and his sponsors want to make the most of it. Brian Blanco / Reuters
Tiger Woods is back as world No 1 and his sponsors want to make the most of it. Brian Blanco / Reuters

To the dissonant delight and alarm of many, Tiger Woods is back on course to obliterate every meaningful record in golf's centuries-old annals. But that is merely one scorecard by which to track his future.

Money is another and, in many ways, is more indicative of his true position in the public pantheon. In short, while Woods over the past year has been winning at his previous levels, whether his revised worth in the marketplace has much changed is a matter of opinion.

Despite the controversial Nike print advert last week that "Winning Takes Care of Everything", wins cannot expunge the stain on his reputation, though there is no doubt he has begun to re-emerge as a pitchman as the victories have piled up. Nike, which had gone months without using him in ads, have all but put their golf show pony on parade lately.

Looking ahead, will he soon land a new bag deal, and if he does, what will be the reaction for the company that signs him? The same issues face Nike, in a way, since the company has not yet re-signed Woods to a new contract.

A well-connected agent said last spring that Nike had offered Woods half of what he was seeking, yet that was shortly before he won the first of six events over the past 13 months, which has given him some leverage again.

From a societal standpoint, his marketability will remain interesting to track. Because, like many magnets, Woods can both attract and repel depending on your personal polarisation.

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