February 26, 2010 / 10:31 PM / 7 years ago

Gatorade sinks Tiger Woods sponsorship

<p>Golfer Tiger Woods apologizes during his first public statement to a small gathering of reporters and friends at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, February 19, 2010.Joe Skipper</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Golfer Tiger Woods was dumped by sports drink brand Gatorade on Friday, becoming the third major corporate sponsor to abandon him since details of his adulterous affairs surfaced late last year.

"We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship," a spokeswoman for PepsiCo's Gatorade said.

"Our partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation will continue. We wish him all the best."

Gatorade decided before the sex scandal that it would drop its "Tiger Focus" drink.

AT&T and technology outsourcing and consulting company Accenture have already ended their sponsorships, while Gillette has distanced itself from the world-famous athlete, who is considered to be one of the best professional golfers of all time.

A somber Woods apologized for his behavior in a tightly controlled, televised event a week ago, but he kept the golf world and his sponsors hanging by failing to say when he would return to competitive play.

Woods had been largely absent from public view for the 12 weeks since he crashed his car outside his Florida home, and as the details of his multiple infidelities unraveled in a flurry of media coverage around the world.

Woods, who is believed to be the world's wealthiest athlete, was estimated to have earned $100 million annually in endorsement deals before he confessed to "infidelity" and said he was taking an indefinite break from professional golf in December.

While some sponsors have sunk sponsorship deals, others including video games publisher Electronic Arts have moved ahead with endorsement plans.

Electronic Arts will introduce the next installment of its popular Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise in June.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Gary Hill and Ted Kerr

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