Truth & Rumors: Nike rewarded for loyalty to Tiger

Much has been said and written about the effect of the Tiger Woods scandal on the golfer's net worth, but what about its effect on the financial well-being of his sponsors—the ones who have stuck by him? According to a new study by the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, at least one of those sponsors—Nike—has been rewarded for its loyalty. The study examined only Tiger’s influence on the golf ball market, so it’s too big a leap to suggest that the likes of Accenture and Gatorade made poor calls in deserting Woods. Still, the numbers will give marketers something to chew on…

In golf ball terms, the endorsement of Nike products by Tiger Woods, which began in 2000, resulted in the acquisition of approximately 4.5 million customers and $60 million dollars in profit (in 1997 dollars) for the last 10 years.
In the six months following Mr. Woods' highly publicized personal scandal, Nike lost approximately 105,000 customers. However, these losses were not gained by other brands as the negative publicity resulted in a net loss to the golfing industry, overall, of $7.5 million in profit.
"Although several major sponsors cut ties with Tiger Woods — Nike did not," said Timothy Derdenger [an economics professor who helped conduct the research]. "So we examined the net effect on Nike's sales and market share. What we found is that by maintaining their relationship with Tiger Woods, Nike's overall profit in golf ball sales was $1.6 million greater than it would have been without him."
Think about that the next you mock a creepy Nike commercial.
In an unrelated story (seriously, it’s totally unrelated, this has NOTHING to do with Tiger Woods), here is a clip from Law and Order’s golf-themed episode early this week. A series spokeswoman told the AP that the plot is “strictly fictional,” and we believe her. Nobody at the Florida Highway Patrol is this witty...

Crash-landing pilot avoids green, wrath of greenskeeper Crash We golfers are a considerate bunch. We talk in hushed tones, replace our divots and repair our ball marks. Noble acts all, but insignificant when compared to what pilot Richard Hammerschlag did Thursday at Cresta Verde Golf Club in Corona, Calif. Hammerschlag, 63, and his co-pilot were en route to nearby Chino Airport when their engine quit, forcing them to emergency land their aircraft on Cresta Verde, reports Richard Brooks of the Press-Enterprise:

The single-engine Bellanca Citabria landed on the undulating sixth fairway, which crests just before the green—and a sand trap.
When Hammerschlag turned to avoid the green, the little two-seater literally fell into the trap. The abrupt stop left the white-and-maroon aerobatic trainer standing on its nose, with a crumpled wingtip resting on the edge of the trap.
"I was trying to avoid the green," the 63-year-old Costa Mesa resident recalled. "But I couldn't see the trap coming up (as I rolled) up an incline. It snuck up on me."
We’ve all been there—only with a 5-iron in our hands instead of a yoke. General Manager Mike Kim summed it up best, calling Hammerschlag “the most courteous crash pilot.”
If only the USGA had an award for that. Laura Davies kidnapping scareAfter a first-round 70 at the chilly LPGA Tour Championship yesterday, 47-year-old Laura Davies found herself in a tie for fourth place, just three off the lead. A Davies win this week would be downright nutty, making her the oldest champion in LPGA history. Nuttier still? A scary episode the Englishwoman endured in India three weeks ago.’s Randall Mell reports:
Davies was certain she was being kidnapped on the eve of the India Women’s Open in Delhi. When her golf clubs didn't arrive at the course, she took a taxi in hopes of picking them up at the airport. What was supposed to be a 15-minute drive turned into a heart-thumping 90-minute adventure.
Unable to understand her taxi driver, Davies became frantic when the driver veered into unknown parts of Delhi. She panicked when he stopped in the middle of the city and a stranger hopped into the car beside her. Certain she was going to be held for ransom, she began crying and trying to force the passenger out of the car.
As it turned out, the driver was merely lost and pulled over for help in trying to get Davies to the airport. Emotionally wrecked, Davies returned to her accommodations safely, but she didn’t get her clubs until three hours before she teed off the next morning. Still, she won the tournament.
Her 78 worldwide wins, including four majors, haven't put Davies in the Hall of Fame. That story should.

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by Kevin Cunningham