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Volume 24 No. 159
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Tiger Partners With Japanese Company For First Sponsorship Since Scandal

Tiger Woods has signed a sponsorship deal with "Japanese pain relief brand Vantelin Kowa, his first endorsement deal since the scandal surrounding his personal life led to him being dropped by numerous brands," according to Ben Bold of MARKETING magazine. Vantelin Kowa "manufactures pain relieving creamy gels and adhesive patches." Nike and EA Sports were the only major sponsors "to stick by" Woods after the scandal, which started in November '09. Nike last year "launched its first TV ad starring the golfer since he apologised for being unfaithful to his wife" (, 6/29). The AP reports a commercial featuring Woods "will debut nationally in Japan from mid-July." Red Sox P Daisuke Matsuzaka "has also promoted the Vantelin heat rub on Japanese TV" (AP, 6/29). CNBC's Darren Rovell first reported the deal on his Twitter feed (THE DAILY). FORBES's Kurt Badenhausen notes Woods has "become a lightning rod in the U.S. scaring off potential partners, but he is still wildly popular in Asia where the golf boom continues unabated." Despite the "sponsorship defections," Woods still topped Forbes' recent rankings of the world's highest-paid athletes (, 6/29).

: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Georg Szalai reports the latest data from The Marketing Arm's Davie Brown Index shows that Rory McIlroy's dominating U.S. Open victory has boosted his "profile and appeal to consumers and marketers." McIlroy's overall DBI score of 55.73 "makes him the third highest-ranked golfer" behind Woods (79.85) and Phil Mickelson (68.86). McIlroy's scores are "up across the board in the firm's latest collection of data, compared to a previous reading in March," and he "outperforms Woods in all categories but awareness." Still, McIlroy's awareness score "has skyrocketed from 17.39 in March to 48.04 now." His best score "comes in the endorsement attribute where he now ranks 145th of the more than 2,800 celebrities that the DBI tracks." The Marketing Arm Group Account Dir Matt Delzell said, "He’s confident without being cocky, something that's rare among young, superstar athletes. Also, from what's portrayed, he’s very close with his family. He seems to win and lose with class and poise." Conversely, Woods "has seen his DBI scores decline since news about his infidelity" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/29).

HOT SHOT: Golfer Rickie Fowler was profiled on Golf Channel's "Inside The PGA Tour," and Fowler's popularity among fans comes in part by "taking non-traditional golf brands like Puma and Red Bull and bringing them into the golfing fold, creating a portfolio uniquely his own.” Golfer Bill Haas said Fowler "is great for the young kids." Haas: "I’ve never seen so many kids wearing that flat-billed Puma hat, so obviously they’re doing something right.” Golfer Bubba Watson, who along with Fowler is part of the Golf Boys, said, "It’s amazing his impact" (“Inside the PGA Tour,” Golf Channel, 6/28).