While it's clear to most that Tiger Woods was never a good fit with Buick, Jim McGovern of Golf.com takes a look at how it happened in the first place and how it all fell apart.
At the time [9 years ago] Buick was the official car of the PGA Tour, the title sponsor of four Tour events and the official car of the World Golf Championships. It was safe to say that in the automotive category, Buick owned golf. The deal with Tiger was the final jewel in the crown. After the initial euphoria wore off, however, the business end of the deal had to be executed in some way that would support the brand and ultimately sell cars. And that's where the struggle really began.
Buick and Tiger have both benefited from their relationship. From Buick's perspective, I'm not sure Tiger moved a lot of metal off the lots, but the association validated their dominance of U.S. professional golf. For Tiger, the ad campaigns and added exposure cemented him as an endorsement star and they connected him to a distinctively home grown list of companies: Accenture, American Express, Gillette and yes, even Buick, that old man's car. Over the last few years, Buick's demographics have steadily skewed younger. It's hard to say whether Tiger's presence influenced the designers to build cars that younger buyers want or those buyers are moving to Buick because of Tiger. I suspect it's a little of both.
In a strange way, this development might bode well for the two remaining Buick title events on Tour, the Buick Invitational in San Diego and the Buick Open in Flint. The company's spokesman, Larry Peck, has repeatedly maintained that the tournaments are viable at least through '09. San Diego costs them about $7 million, but most of that has probably already been paid. Flint is further out, so even though the Tour considers its contracts iron clad, the event could be in some sort of jeopardy. But since Buick owns that tournament it costs less, about $5 million. The $10 million or so the company just saved on the Tiger deal could save the Buick Open.
I find that last paragraph especially interesting.
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With the automotive industry in the financial struggle that they are in recent months, I found it no surprise that the Tiger endorsement went by the wayside. I'd of been surprised if they had shelled out the amount of money necessary to keep him as an endorser with the way things are going in Detroit.