Tiger Woods is struggling through another golf tournament, 13 strokes behind leader Adam Scott at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a tournament Woods has won six times. Meanwhile, another top sponsor has bid him adieu.
Since his image-wrecking sex scandal in 2009, Woods has yet to recover the championship form that made him the world’s No. 1 golfer.
Injuries have also played a role. The Bridgestone is his first tournament after a long layoff to deal with a recurring knee problem.
At 35, as he moves into the twilight of his career, Woods may never regain his old form.
While he’s still powerful off the tee and accurate with irons, his masterful putting, so far, is a thing of the past.
His scores have grown with each round at the Firestone Country Club.
Woods lost the world No. 1 ranking to Lee Westwood last October, and the Bridgestone is his first tournament since his injury sidelined him for 12 weeks.
Next week, he’ll play in his first major, the PGA Championship, in his comeback. Anything short of a major breakthrough, and Woods’ career will be strongly in doubt.
Meanwhile, corporate sponsors continue to reassess their relationship with him.
Luxury watch maker Tag Heuer is the latest sponsor to let its deal with Woods expire, Golf World executive editor Ron Sirak tweeted over the weekend.
“Tiger’s agent confirms Woods’ Tag Heuer relationship has expired,” Sirak tweeted Friday evening.
Since Tiger’s 2009 Thanksgiving car accident, which ignited his sex scandal and ended in divorce from his wife Elin Nordgren, six sponsors —Gillette, Gatorade, Accenture, AT&T and Golf Digest–have dropped him.
Elin, meanwhile, has moved on with a new boyfriend.
For the first time since early in his career, Fortune magazine reported that he may actually be hurting for money– given his $100 million divorce and high living expenses.
At the very least, there are signs that he isn’t generating enough to comfortably cover his costs, the article said.
Fortune estimates that Woods’ endorsement income may have fallen as low as $20 million this year. Before the scandal he earned as much as $100 million a year.
In the final irony, Bridgestone leader Scott has teamed up with Woods’ long-time former caddie, Steve Williams, who had a falling out with the golfer over his sex scandal.