A gracious Irish host once told me, as he handed me a wee dram and a small pitcher of water, that in Ireland there are two things you never, ever do: “Add the water to another man’s whiskey and put your hands on another man’s wife.”
Despite this rather prudish attitude to life, the Irish seem fine with the image of one Tiger Woods, which has taken some hits back on his home soil. I had earlier read a survey that Tiger’s approval rating had shot up in Italy since his marriage scandal broke, and that makes sense. The Italians have always embraced and championed in-your-face sexuality and view Tiger’s flaws, as well, not flaws at all, but rather heroic virtues. Ireland, on the other hand, is about as conservative as Europeans get, so I was surprised to hear how much money they are prepared to throw at Tiger for his current image.
In a press release issued today, betting parlor chain Paddy Powers announced that it had offered Tiger a whipping $75,000,000 – yes, that is seventy five million dollars – for a 5-year endorsement deal, or a neat $15 million per year. Tiger, through his agents at IMG, turned Paddy Powers down. The company runs the ubiquitous bookmaking storefronts found in just about every Irish village, town and city, handling bets on everything from horse races to soccer to golf to US Presidential elections.
Bear in mind that Tiger’s high profile US sponsors, including Accenture, Tag watches and Gatorade, have been jumping ship, and that the vast bulk of his more than billion-dollar lifetime income comes not from winning golf tournaments but from endorsements. Certainly Tiger does not need the money, but at the same time $75 million is real cake, and one gets the feeling he is not being besieged with offers of this magnitude right now.
Paddy Powers is not so easily put off, and said that they remain “keen to work with Tiger Woods, and will re-engage with IMG. An enhanced offer will be made, the details of which will remain confidential.” Presumably for even more money
Here’s a tip to Paddy Powers: if Tiger still says no, I am available. For just one-tenth of one percent of his grand total per annum, $75,000 a year, I will turn myself into a walking billboard. After all, I play golf in Europe, your target market, more than Tiger does. You can give the other $74,925,000 to charity.