Tiger woods makes his first appearance in a Nike advertisement after his self-imposed exile since last November. The 30-second advertisement features Tiger Woods listening to the voice of late Earl Woods (Tiger’s father). Woods’ long time sponsor Nike has released the advertisement, called ‘Earl and tiger’, just a day before the 2010 Masters golf tournament.
In the advertisement, Earl’s recorded voice speaks to Tiger, who faces the camera ruminating, “Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are”.
The ‘National Enquirer’ on November 25 2009, accused Woods of having an extramarital affair with nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel, a claim she denied. The scandal took an interesting turn when a San Diego cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs publicly claimed a two-and-a-half-year relationship with Woods. Subsequently dozens of women claimed, in various media outlets, of having relations with Woods, producing evidence like private messages and photographs. In a statement released on December 11 2009, Woods apologized publicly, adtmitting to infidelity and announcing an indefinite hiatus from professional golf.
Following his statement on December 11, several companies suspended or cancelled their sponsorship contracts with Woods. Nike was one of the very few companies who stood by Woods through this tumultuous period of his life, marred by scandals, where sponsors like Accenture, Gillette, Tag Heuer, AT&T, Gatorade and PepsiCo backed out.
Woods’ affairs, according to an estimate, have set back his sponsors by 5 to 12 billion dollars while he suffered a personal loss of around $35 million in sponsorship deals. He has been reported to have lost millions more in attempts to save his marriage.
History shows us that some sporting legends have come back even stronger after confronting turbulent interruptions in their careers. Lance Armstrong, for instance, staged a spectacular comeback after recuperating from testicular cancer, by winning the Tour de France in 1999.
After his persecution for refusing to fight the Vietnam war, Muhammad Ali came back to the ring and won famous bouts like “Rumble in the Jungle”, and defeated greats like Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Chuck Wepner. Leaving all the chaos behind, Woods too hopes to make a befitting comeback to golf in the Masters. His opening drive on 8th April 2010 maybe the most watched shot in the history of golf.
The advertisement culminates with Woods Sr. asking his son “Did you learn anything?”