Tiger Woods was cleared Tuesday of any possible criminal charges related to last week's mysterious car accident. But the flood of extramarital affair allegations over the past seven days means Woods will have to stay on his best behavior if he is to keep his multimillion dollar endorsement deals and reputation as the "world’s most marketable athlete," experts say.
Los Angeles-based sports/entertainment agent and Grippo Entertainment Group owner Michael Grippo told Pop Tarts that Woods is most likely under close watch by the big corporations he flacks for, which include Nike, Gillette, American Express and Accenture.
“It is very possible [he could lose deals] because of the monetary investment he requires, and big companies are so cautious with every single spokesperson,” Grippo said. “Just like we are seeing now, almost always in these situations ‘things’ start coming out. Tiger is a money machine right now, but negative press could mean consumers shy away from him, and in this economy, nobody can afford bad press. People will continue to dig even more dirt on him. His squeaky clean image is gone.”
So far three women have been alleged to have had affairs with the married golfer. One, Jaimee Grubbs, even produced a voicemail message allegedly of Woods asking her to delete her name from her voice mail message because his “wife might call.”
Woods has since posted an apology on his personal website and admitted his actions have “let his family down.”
Forbes Magazine estimated that the 33-year-old has earned over a billion dollars, with the majority of his income stemming from sponsorships and endorsements. And so far, with just hours having passed since Woods issued his statement, the big brands are still backing the world’s number one golfer.
"Tiger and his family have our full support. We respect Tiger's request for privacy and our thoughts are with Tiger and his family at this time,” Nike said in a statement before Woods came clean.
Gatorade confirmed to Pop Tarts that they will continue their partnership with Woods and “look forward to seeing him on the course soon.”
A rep for Gillette, who reportedly signed a deal with Woods between $10 and $20 million, told Pop Tarts “we have not announced any changes to our marketing strategy.”
American Express said they did not "have any formal comment or statement about Tiger Woods' accident," noting "that while we have worked together off and on for several years, we do not have any current contractual agreements with Mr. Woods."
“They might be sticking by him right now but I’m sure most of the companies will be in meetings,” Grippo said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if contracts don’t get renewed. My guess is he will lose a few deals.”
One of Hollywood’s leading image consultants, Michael Sands, has a slightly different take. He thinks Woods may have saved his career by “stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility” with Wednesday's statement of remorse.
“He’s going to have to do a lot of charity work and give back,” Sands said. “Tiger is a very valuable financial asset to corporations, he addressed the issue and now should move on.”