In the aftermath of Tiger Woods' recent first PGA Tour victory since 2009, what comes to mind for the automotive world is how long will it take before the famed golfer is once again driving a free Buick?
Or this time time around will it be a Ford, Chevy, Hyundai, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz?
Although it seems longer ago than 2009, Woods was once a spokeseman for General Motors, via his contract with Buick. Woods fiilmed commercials driving a Buick Enclave, the luxury SUV. Despite its rather hefty presence, the Enclave was largely unheralded. But GM decided Woods was an ideal representative for the manufacturer.
The Enclave quickly became known as the "Tiger Woods car."
One prime example occurred in 2006. It was early in my tenure writing The Weekly Driver column. This exchange became part of my review of the Enclave:
"I pulled into an angled side street parking spot and two gardeners began to stare at my vehicle with puzzled looks. Did I park over the line? Did I not see a fire hydrant? Did I miss some other restricted parking designation? “Hey guys, anything wrong?” I asked. “No, nothing,” one replied. “I just haven’t seen that car before. That’s Tiger Woods car, isn’t it? It’s really a great-looking S.U.V.”
Fast-forward to the aftermath of Woods accident in November 2009 near his home in Florida in his Enclave and the revelation of marital indiscretion. The word soon came down: No more free cars for Tiger Woods. GM stopped Woods' complimentary loaners at the end of 2009.
Woods’ endorsement contract with GM’s Buick brand ended in 2008. But the manufacturer extended its relationship with golfer via several free loaner vehicles.
But soon enough Woods lost a host of endorsement contracts, including his privileges with GM.
But it's a safe bet, GM or another manufacturer will emerge soon.
And if there's any doubt, consider the recent decision by Fiat. The Italian manufacturer hired Jennifer Lopez. It hired stunning super model Catrinel Menghia. And now it has Charlie Sheen, the befuddled, under house arrest actor.
Considering, Woods' new car sponsorship is likely just around the next corner.