General Motors opts out of Tiger Woods sponsorship deal
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The troubled US carmaker General Motors has found a way out of its sponsorship agreement with golf star Tiger Woods after nine years together. The lucrative contract was supposed to bring Woods some 7 million dollars up until 2009.
Tiger Woods and General Motors have agreed to end their endorsement deal after nine years at the end of the year, the 14-time major golf champion and world's largest automaker announced Monday.
The decision comes as US car manufacturers face major financial losses in a troubled economy and while Woods is on a layoff following left knee surgery after his triumph in June's US Open at Torrey Pines.
The endorsement contract, believed to pay Woods seven million dollars a year, was due to expire at the end of 2009.
Woods has been featured in advertisements for GM products worldwide, notably the Buick automobile brand in China, Canada and the United States, and has played in many US PGA Tour events sponsored by the auto brand.
Ending the deal early was a mutual decision according to Woods and GM, with the car company looking to save money and Woods seeking more personal time with his wife Elin due to give birth to their second child in "late winter".
"I am very proud of the long standing partnership I've had with GM and have enjoyed being a part of the company's dramatic product evolution. We've had a lot of fun together," Woods said in a statement.
"We've enjoyed a tremendous partnership over the years and we will maintain strong ties."
GM officials say the ending of the deal is unrelated to the automaker's request for 25 billion dollars in loans from the federal government.
"Tiger has been a great friend to GM and a fantastic asset through the years," said GM vice president Mark LaNeve.
"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."
Woods, who needs four more major titles to match Jack Nicklaus atop the all-time list, is not certain when he will return to action after missing the past six months to let his knee heal.
A likely contender for Woods' comeback site is Torrey Pines, where he won in a playoff last June while limping to the finish.
The Southern California course will host the US PGA Buick Invitational next February and Woods has won his past five starts there.
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