Worse, he hasn't seemed to be in control of his golf. Divorce proceedings loomed over Woods for most of the summer — it was finalized Aug. 23 — distracting his thoughts and disrupting his normal practice routine. After dumping swing coach Hank Haney in May, Woods began working with Sean Foley at the PGA Championship.
"We never underestimate his abilities as a competitor," Nike said in a statement.
But he needs to start winning, Ries said.
"We will quickly forget this time if he comes back," she said. "But the more time we see him downtrodden on the course, losing, the more trouble it is."
Corporations and consumers alike want to be associated with winners. It's why athletes make such attractive marketing partners.
But Woods has something equally powerful working in his favor right now, Ries said.
"We love stories of redemption. We want that happy ending," she said. "That's what Tiger has going for him, because we are rooting for him now."
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.
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