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    For Real, Why Are Tiger Woods' Sponsors Fleeing?

    Tiger Woods, Gatorade Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Tiger Woods' sponsors are all dissing him, but they're all saying it has nothing to do with his booty calls. That's BS, right?
    —Clare D, Utah

    Well, there's dissing, and then there's out-and-out thrashing Tiger Woods with the virtual nine iron of shame. Both are going on at this hour: Tag Heuer merely pulled images of the big swinger, while Gatorade full-on got rid of its Tiger Woods-inspired energy drink.

    Both companies have put out statements essentially stating that any coincidence in their decisions and Tiger's proclivity for strange ladies is silly, just silly.

    If you smell BS, you are so not silly:

    "The sponsors claiming that there is no correlation between these events and their decision to let Tiger go are lying," says Mason Wiley, a senior vice president of marketing at the Hydra Network. "They're thinking, why pay him millions of dollars if his image has become compromised? He now represents debauchery rather than excellence in the public's minds." 

    And that's true.

    People have not only soured on Tiger, but on the brands associated with him. Data mining by Zeta Interactive indicates that Tag Heuer has suffered a 40 percent reduction in positive buzz online. Gatorade? Forty-five percent.

    So why not just tell the public that they're distancing themselves from Tiger because his values aren't in line with their brand, or some other such blah blah blah?

    "They may be contractually prevented from discussing it publicly," Wiley says. "They don't want to open themselves up to a lawsuit from Tiger for having disparaged him, or they just want to distance themselves as much as possible from the stench of controversy."

    Other brands have also played this game with stars.

    David Letterman apparently lost no advertisers in the wake of his scandal, but Cover Girl ads featuring Rihanna mysteriously disappeared for a while after she returned to boyfriend-slash-beater Chris Brown, and Michael Phelps was dumped by Kellogg after a photo surfaced of the swimmer hitting a bong. (To its credit, Kellogg came clean about why it was cutting ties with Phelps.)

    Pardon me. Have to go pour my Gatorade down the kitchen sink before someone dumps me.

    ________

    Get up to speed on all the Tiger bait with our Cheat Sheet.

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