When news of Tiger Wood's "personal issues" first hit, EA Sports came out on the defensive, issuing a strong statement of support for their star. A couple of weeks (and a dozen ladies) later, however, things aren't looking as solid.
Here's the original statement, sent out by EA on December 2:
Our strong relationship with Tiger for more than a decade remains unchanged. We respect Tiger's privacy, we wish him a fast recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on the golf course.
Supportive! They're rooting for the big guy, and will be backing him all the way. Thing is, that was at a time when Tiger was still a golfer. And was only facing allegations of sleeping with a handful of ladies who were not his wife.
Two weeks later, though, Woods has not only taken an indefinite break from the sport (not helpful for a company making a video game based around him playing golf), but it appears he's slept with every porn star and cocktail waitress north of the Mexican border. Meaning he's now less of an asset, more of a liability. And a fresh statement from EA reflects this.
This was sent by an EA Sports representative to the New Britain Herald yesterday:
We respect that this is a very difficult, and private, situation for Tiger and his family. At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA Tour business remains unchanged.
Hmm. Interesting. "At this time". Carefully-worded phrase, that. It's the real-world marketing equivalent of "we have no plans". Sure, the strategy at this time remains unchanged, but by January or February (or at least until after Tiger Woods Online launches early next year), well, who knows.
In other words, while it's hardly an outright sacking, it's also no longer a lock that Tiger will be the face of EA Sports' golf franchise next year. Especially given the fact that he may not even be playing golf by the time next year's title rolls around.
Lee Carvallo, now's your chance!
Drzewiecki: EA has no plans to take Tiger off PGA game [New Britain Herald, via Go Nintendo]