Tiger Woods (AP)
General Motors Corp. says it will end its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods at the end of the year.
GM said in a statement Monday that it is looking to reduce costs, and that the world's No. 1 golfer wants more personal time as he expects his second child.
Woods has endorsed GM products around the world and has been closely tied to its Buick brand in the United States, Canada and China. He has carried the Buick brand on his golf bag since 2000, and his most recent promotion was to caddie for a contest winner for nine holes at Torrey Pines, where Woods won the U.S. Open this summer for his 14th career major.
The five-year deal, believed to be worth at least $7 million a year, was to end in 2009. Woods' agent at IMG, Mark Steinberg, said the decision to end the endorsement one year early was "absolutely mutual."
"It was a combination of things," Steinberg said. "Tiger was looking to gain some more time, and certainly it was an opportunity for GM to reduce its spending with everything going on."
GM's vice president for North American sales, Mark LaNeve, says the separation is the result of discussions earlier in the year and is not related to the company's campaign for $25 billion in loans from the federal government.
Buick said last week that it would be cutting back on its deal providing courtesy cars at PGA Tour events.
Woods has carried only two logos on his bag since he turned pro in August 1996. He was with Titleist through 1999 until Buick won a bidding war for its brand on a bag that gets more television time at tournaments than any other golfer.
Woods has not played since season-ending knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open, and he is not expected to return until next year, most likely in early March depending on his recovery.
Steinberg said he would "expect there to be some exposure on the bag" when Woods next plays.
"I've got a few ideas, and we're in the process of working through that," he said.