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Sponsors still standing by Tiger Woods

By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Nike, Gatorade, Gillette and other sponsors said on Wednesday that they will continue their relationships with Tiger Woods, despite new reports of Woods' alleged affair and the golfer's admissions of "personal sins" and "transgressions."

"Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) supports Tiger and his family," the company said in a statement. "Our relationship remains unchanged."

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"Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter," a Gatorade spokeswoman said. "Our partnership continues."

Gillette reiterated that it has not changed its marketing strategy because of the news, but the company wouldn't comment on any future plans.

EA Sports (ERTS) also said it would continue its sponsorship of Woods: "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."

Calls to other major sponsors of the golfing great, including Accenture (ACN) and Tag Heuer, were not immediately returned. AT&T (T, Fortune 500) declined to comment for the story.

On Wednesday, Us Weekly reported Woods has been having an affair with a Los Angeles cocktail waitress for two years.

On his Web site, Woods responded to the allegations by admitting to unidentified "personal failings."

"I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves," said Woods in the statement. "I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect."

The news follows Woods' car crash outside his Windermere, Fla. home last week that grabbed public attention. Also last week, a story in the National Enquirer claimed Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess. The woman denied any affair with Woods, according to the Associated Press.

Woods' endorsers, which have made Tiger Woods the richest athlete in the world, also said on Monday that they were sticking by their spokesman.

In September, Tiger Woods became the first athlete to earn $1 billion in a career, according to Forbes. Though his winnings on the golf course have netted him tens of millions of dollars a year ($23 million in 2007), his endorsements have more than quadrupled his earnings on the PGA tour. Sports Illustrated reported that Woods earned $105 million from sponsorship deals in 2007, his last full season -- more than double any other athlete in the world. To top of page

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