Mercedes-Benz must have known something we did not regarding Tiger Woods and his penchant for sleeping with underprivileged women.
The German car manufacturer dropped their sponsorship of the annual tournament in Hawaii that kicks off the PGA Tour at the Kapalua Resort in Kapalua on the island of Maui. The new sponsor, SBS, signed a ten year agreement to funnel dollars into the event on May 7th.
Nike will stand by Tiger but not all of his sponsors will support him. Accenture, one of the first sponsors to drop Tiger, made this statement: "He is no longer the right representative for the advertising."
Okay, maybe SBS didn’t know anything about Tiger’s issues. In any case, they’re probably kicking themselves now, although they would never admit it, and will try to get out of the contract as soon as humanly possible. How many days is 10 years? 3,650.
There’s still a golf tournament to be played, of course, and without Tiger in the field, things are looking up for a number of other players. Who could step it up with El Tigre stepping away? Let’s see.
Top Contenders to Win the SBS Championship
Ogilvy dominated this tournament in 2009 when it was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz in wire to wire fashion. He shot a 67, 68, 65 and 68 on his way to a total 268 and 24 under par, winning by 6 strokes.
The bottom line is that not only will Tiger probably not play in this event, but neither will Phil Mickelson or Padraig Harrington. Ogilvy started 2009 strong but then tailed off towards the end of the year. He figures to have a great shot of doing the same thing in 2010. The Australian golf wizard has a chance at repeating in the SBS Championship.
Kim finished 2nd to Ogilvy in this tournament in 2009 but could turn the tables on Geoff. Kim needs to step it up in 2010. The door has remained open for him to become the hottest thing in golf since Tiger, even though he had a less than spectacular 2009. However, he needs to win tournaments.
But there is more at stake for Kim than just winning. With Tiger on the sidelines, sponsors will be looking for the next great thing. That means a ton of marketing dollars could flow Kim’s way in 2010 if he can find a way to put a few trophies on his mantle. Shooting an 18 under again, or possibly better, in the SBS Championship would be a good way to start.
Most golf fans love Kenny Perry. How could anybody not? The man is close to 50 years old and has had more success on the PGA Tour after 40 then he ever had before 40. He’s also a very humble guy. Perry did okay in this tournament in 2009, finishing tied for 6th at 15 under par.
He never really recovered after the Masters’ melt down in 2009, though he did win the John Deere Classic, but should be ready to hit the ground running in 2010. Perry is constantly changing to improve his game. Expect him to do it again and come out firing on Jan. 7th.
O’Hair’s finish in this tournament in 2009, 4th with a 17 under, was very, very nice. O’Hair ended up 6th on the money list with over 4.3 million in earnings this past season. The man can flat out play golf.
He ended 2009 by finishing 8th in the Deutsche Bank Championship, 4th in the BMW Championship, 3rd in the Tour Championship and 1st, along with the other Americans, in The President’s Cup. Don’t look past this guy to step it up and actually win the SBS Championship in 2010.
Johnson’s 15 under in the SBS last year was a terrific way to start the year.
He pretty much never let up.
Johnson ended 2009 with 10 top ten finishes, 4.7 million in earnings (4th on the money list), and two victories, including hoisting the trophy in the Sony Championship a week after shooting 15 under in this tournament. Johnson no doubt is going to be ready to prove how good he is on January 7th.