Tiger Woods’ 14-year career as a pro has changed the face of golf. The New York Times recently commented on how Woods has ushered in a new genre of golfers and attracted millions in sponsorships, advertisements and broadcasting. And despite the roaring scandal surrounding him, he remains the world’s highest paid sportsman and its top athlete brand.
Golf, like many other sports, is driven by big names. The business of sport is also the business of brand-making, and a Woods or a Sachin Tendulkar can make the difference between an enthusiastic sport and a successful economic model. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is sufficient proof of this.
Soon, however, Woods will return to the game he has helped raise to its popularity. What happens to that eminence will depend in large part on the ability of golf to rise above Woods’ personal controversy and find other ambassadors to drive its brand in the future. It is not scandals that change the contours of a game, it’s great ideas like IPL that do.