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IS A TIGER GOLF'S KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR?
Published August 28, 1996
TIGER WOODS announced yesterday his intention to turn professional, and will hold a news conference today to formally announce his decision. Woods faxed a statement to officials of the Greater Milwaukee Open that confirmed that "as of now, I am a professional golfer." The N.Y. TIMES reported yesterday that Woods would sign two lucrative endorsement deals -- a five-year, $40M, pact with Nike, and a three-year, $3M, deal with Titleist. A spokesperson at Nike said the company would reserve all comment until's Woods news conference today. In Washington, Leonard Shapiro notes Woods' "presence will help tournaments at the gate and should have a direct effect" on network TV ratings, which have been down slightly this year (WASHINGTON POST, 8/28). NBC Sports golf analyst Johnny Miller notes Woods agreed to contracts with Nike for about $8M annually and with the American Brands division of Titleist golf balls and Cobra equipment for about $1M a year (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/28). Former golfer and agent Vinny Giles: "He could be the Michael Jordan of golf" (Joe Logan, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/28). The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's Timothy Dwyer writes Woods' pro debut "is the biggest sports coming-out party in a long time" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/28). The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Ron Green: "He has become one of the brightest stars and most intriguing figures in golf, if not in all of sport, not altogether because he has those titles but ... [also] how he has that perfect nickname and how he makes us feel we may be seeing something wonderful unfolding" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/28). In Chicago, Brian Hewitt notes, "Sports will have an instant and transcendent icon." He also predicts Woods will be invited to participate in the nationally televised Skins Game in November (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/28). Woods is featured in the current SI by Jaime Diaz. Woods: "I always said I would know when it was time, and now is the time." After a reporter suggested to Nike Chair Phil Knight that Woods has the same charisma and flair for competition as Michael Jordan, Knight said, "You bet your ass. Same deal" (SI, 9/2 issue). ESPN's Charley Steiner: "The PGA Tour received an infusion of new blood and charisma" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/27).