Disgraced golfer Tiger Woods has turned down a $75m sponsorship deal with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.
The golfing legend bade farewell to several of his big-name sponsors but the disgraced world number one still won't be tempted by the offer, which could be worth an astonishing $75m over five years.
With a downpayment of $5m (€3.7m) for the use of Tiger's likeness annually, the proposal provides performance incentives including $1m for each Major he wins in the US and $2m for victory at the British Open.
"We're in negotiations with IMG to sponsor Tiger," Paddy Power told US magazine website 'Golfweek'. "It's still in the early stage of the negotiations, really, to be honest with you. But if it all comes off, it'll be the biggest sponsorship deal we've done by quite some way."
However, Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at IMG, indicated that PaddyPower.com's proposal is not being given serious consideration. "We're not involved in any discussions to add to his sponsorship portfolio at this time," he said.
Paddy Power lost €1.5m last August when it paid out on Tiger as he led after 54 holes of the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine only to be eclipsed by Korean YE Yang.
Now Paddy Power is potentially taking a much bigger gamble on Woods, who has been out of golf since his November 27 car crash precipitated revelations of marital infidelity and a stunningly swift fall in public-opinion surveys. His marketability is under pressure after Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade pulled their support.
"At this stage, when other sponsors seem to be ditching him, there's an opportunity there to step in," the bookmaker said of the proposal. "He's still somebody we would very much like to align ourselves to."
With Woods reported this week to be back hitting balls on the driving range at Isleworth, his home club near Orlando, Florida, and with the US Masters just a month away, Woods' return could be at the two-day Tavistock Cup on his home course at the exclusive estate.
The Paddy Power proposal includes most of Europe, Asia and Australasia but not the US.
The PGA Tour has prohibitions on players associating with gambling sites or casinos in marketing or endorsement deals, and those seem to extend to such involvement overseas.
"That would make us pause in regards to our regulations," Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour's executive vice president, said of the tour's stance on players associating with overseas gambling operations. "It would be problematic."
Source Irish Independent