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Woods close to mega deal with Gatorade

Photo: Nam Y. Huh/AP

Tiger Woods reportedly signed a five-year deal with Gatorade that could be worth as much as $100 million

LEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Along with being a Nike client since turning pro, Tiger Woods has endorsed everything from automobiles to financial services to watches to video games. His next deal likely will be a sports drink.

Woods said Friday he is close to signing an endorsement with Gatorade.

"We're talking about Gatorade right now, and we're working on hopefully finalizing a contract," he said after a second straight 67 in the BMW Championship left him one shot out of the lead.

Golfweek magazine reported on its Web site that Woods has agreed to a five-year deal that could pay him as much as $100 million. The magazine cited sources it did not identify as saying the compensation would be based on an endorsement fee and royalties from the sales of at least three Gatorade products, included a new drink that would be named after Woods.

Woods said he considered another company, but did not say which one. Golfweek reported that Gatorade beat out a bid by Vitamin Water that was said to be worth up to $75 million.

The deal comes about four months after his longtime endorsement with American Express expired amicably, with both sides wanting to go in a different direction. Among the endorsements Woods currently has are Nike, Buick, Tag Heuer, Accenture, Gillette and Electronic Arts, which has a video game that Woods promoted last week in New York.

BAG FOR HIRE

Robert Allenby had six birdies, two bogeys and two caddies Friday at the BMW Championship.

The Aussie was walking off the 16th tee — his seventh hole of the second round — when he got into a dispute with caddie Matthew "Bussy" Tritton, and the looper left Allenby holding the bag.

Not literally, of course, for Australian trainer Vern McMillan was standing outside the ropes and took over the bag.

This wasn't the first time a caddie has quit on Allenby in the middle of the round, but it might have been the first time he didn't see it coming. He sensed some tension, especially when he said Tritton ignored his request for a 5-wood off the 16th tee.

"He started walking off the tee. I said, 'What's wrong?' And then he started whining at me," Allenby said. "For two days everything has been fine. He just said, 'You don't want me to caddie any more. You want me to leave, don't you?' I said, 'No, I don't.' And then he just left."

It wasn't too much of a disruption. Allenby, who opened with a 74, birdied the 16th hole, then played the front nine in 33 to shoot a 68. That left him tied for 46th in the 65-man field, but it was a strong showing considering that he is No. 24 in the playoff standings and is trying to nail down his spot in the Tour Championship.

Allenby figures it would take a miracle for him not to make East Lake, but he's leaving nothing to chance.

As for the caddie leaving him?

"That's golf," he said. "That's the way it is. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last time, either. I definitely played some pretty good golf after that."

Perhaps his most famous incident came at St. Andrews in the 1995 British Open, when Michael "Sponge" Waite was on the bag.

"He picked up my bag over his head and threw it about 100 yards," Allenby said. "I had to carry it myself up to the green, but he was waiting for me when I got there. He said, 'I'm a professional, I'll finish the round.' And I birdied four of the last 10 holes."

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

K.J. Choi was trying to keep pace with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker when he got into jail on the eighth hole, sending his tee shot so far to the left that it went over the trees, bounced under a bridge and settled in thick grass about a yard short of the water.

The concrete bridge blocked his path back to the eighth fairway. A slope and trees kept him from going to the left. A penalty drop wouldn't have done him any good, for there was nowhere to go. Choi tried to squeeze his shot between a tree and the side of the bridge, but his shot hit the concrete, bounced over the water and back at his feet.

The second try was much better — and to some, it looked great.

Fans who looked toward the green saw a ball drop over a bunker and settled 10 feet away. A big cheer followed, but turns out it was Stricker hitting his second shot at the same time Choi was hitting his third.

Choi's ball came up short of the bunker in more deep grass.

"I didn't know he was still hitting," Stricker said. "Tiger said I was away, and I just hit it."

Choi got up-and-down for a solid bogey, and he wound up with 70 to finish five shots out of the lead.

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