NEW YORK (
) -- Throughout this past week, we asked users of TheStreet whether you thought Tiger Woods' sponsors were making the right decision by standing behind the disgraced golfer. Since then, Tiger has taken a major retreat from the public eye -- but not before announcing his intention to reprioritize his life away from golf and toward his family.
Tiger Woods announced Friday night on his Web site that he had decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf after much soul searching. "I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person," he said.
The decision Woods has made -- he and his wife Elin have a two-year old daughter and ten-month old son -- means Woods will be sitting on the sidelines of professional golf for a second year in a row. Last year, Woods had to take eight months off from golf to recover from reconstructive surgery on his left knee -- a small feat compared to repairing the damage to his reputation.
After he crashed his car on November 27th outside his Orlando home, the media honed in on his philandering,
since Michael Jackson's death. On Tuesday morning, Tiger Woods' mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital and treated for stomach pains after collapsing in his home.
When Woods was out of action from July 2008 until the end of February for his knee surgery, television ratings dropped by 50%. As of today, he has given no indication of when he might return in what could be a pivotal year in his career as he pursues the record of 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods, who did not win a major this year, has 14.
The Masters, where Woods has won four times, takes place April 8-11. The U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where Woods won by a record 15 strokes in 2000, and the British Open returns to St. Andrews, where he has won twice by a combined 13 shots.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem issues a statement Friday supporting Woods decision to take a break from golf and focus on his family.
For now, despite all of this, Woods' major sponsors, like
are mostly standing behind him,
has removed an image of Woods from the homepage of its Web site and Gillette has decided to phase Woods out from its ads while he tries to repair his personal problems. The
Procter & Gamble
division said it will support Woods' desire for privacy by limiting his role in Gillette's marketing programs.
After Woods' announcement on Friday, an
spokeswoman said the company supports his decision to take a break from professional golf and is evaluating its ongoing relationship with him. AT&T is the main sponsor of the PGA tournament Woods hosts in July, and is the presenting sponsor of his main charity event "TigerJam.
brand Gatorade has confirmed with CNBC that it had decided to
but has not dropped him as an endorser.
Woods agent Mark Steinberg said Woods sponsors have been open to a solution-oriented dialogue. "Of course, each sponsor has unique considerations and ultimately the decisions they make we would fully understand and accept," Steinberg said.
As for what users of TheStreet have to say, a clear majority of our survey respondents -- 68.3% -- say that Tiger Woods' sponsors should detach their brands from Woods tainted name. A mere 31.7% say it is still a positive to have the world's number one golfer endorsing your company's brands.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
>>Tiger Woods' Sponsors (Mostly) Standing by Woods
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