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GM Cuts Ties With Tiger Woods

General Motors (GM) and Tiger Woods are parting ways, bringing to a close a nearly decade-long relationship between one of the best-known brands on the planet and the world's top golfer.

GM said in a statement Monday that the move was driven by the company's "search for budget efficiencies during a difficult economy" and the fact that Woods has "a desire for more personal time," partly because he and his wife are expecting their second child.

For the past nine years, Woods has endorsed GM products, particularly the Buick line.

"This decision is the result of discussions that started earlier in the year and the timing of this agreement with these other activities is purely coincidental," said Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president of sales, referring to "the news coming out of Washington."

Cash-strapped GM is clearly headed for an overall reduction in its marketing budget. The company has long been a leading U.S. sports advertiser, spending close to $600 million on TV sports advertising in 2007, but it's paring back its costs where it can.

At a hearing last week of the House Financial Services Committee, CEO Rick Wagoner said GM does not plan to advertise during the Super Bowl in 2009. The company has also ceased advertising at two NASCAR racetracks, and Cadillac has ended its sponsorship of the Masters golf tournament.

GM, along with Ford (F) and Chrysler, has been lobbying for government aid as demand for its cars dries up. Last week, legislators said they want the chiefs of Detroit's Big Three automakers to return to Capitol Hill in December to explain what they would do with federal help.

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