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Steve Chiotakis: The San Diego Open starts Thursday at the Torrey Pines golf course… without Tiger Woods. And he won’t be the only thing missing there. Since Woods well-publicized “transgressions,” professional golf has been struggling to attract tournament sponsors, TV viewers and fans. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.
Golf Announcer: This won’t take long . . . it’s Tiger’s tournament.
Nancy Marshall Genzer: Tiger Woods owned professional golf before his . . . uh . . . coarse behavior. Now, the PGA has to scramble to find corporate sponsors for golf tournaments.
Ben Sturner: Now that he’s out — and he’ll be out for awhile — it’s a shakey time for sponsors to get back their return of investment.
Ben Sturner is CEO of the Leverage Agency. It arranges sponsorships. He says the PGA didn’t find a sponsor for Torrey Pines until last week.
The tournament was sponsored for 17 years by Buick, until the recession hit. Sturner thinks the new sponsor, Farmers Insurance Group, paid half price. It’ll be a different story if — well, more like when — Woods returns.
Rob Baade is a sports economist at Lake Forest College:
Rob Baade: Can you imagine what that first tournement is going to be like when he comes back? There’s going to be substantial interest, if for no other reason, for some, to see him fail.
Badde says a lot will also depend on Woods’s success in rehabilitating his public image before he returns to the game.
In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.
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