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Gatorade drops sponsorship of Tiger Woods

tiger_woods_gatorade.gi.top.jpgBy Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- PepsiCo's Gatorade said Friday that it has ended its business relationship with Tiger Woods.

"We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts," a Gatorade spokesman said. He added the company's partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation will continue.

PepsiCo's (PEP, Fortune 500) Gatorade is the third major brand to drop its sponsorship of Woods.

The announcement comes after months of allegations of extramarital scandal, which has played out in the public eye. On Nov. 25, The National Enquirer reported that golf pro Woods had been dating New York nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel. Woods is married to Elin Nordegren, and the couple has two children.

Two days after the Enquirer story was published, Woods pulled out of his driveway in Windermere, Fla., hitting a fire hydrant and a tree, according to an incident report.

Media speculation swirled around the event and a few weeks later a slew of other women began to come forward, claiming to be Woods' mistresses. On his Web site, Woods responded to the allegations by admitting to "personal failings."

At first, Woods' sponsors said they would stick by their star athlete. But in December, Accenture and AT&T (T, Fortune 500) announced they were dropping sponsorship. Woods had signed a multi-year agreement with the telecom giant in February 2009, but terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Procter & Gamble's (PG, Fortune 500) Gillette said it would stop airing commercials that feature Woods for a while, though the company stopped short of saying it would end the relationship. Other major sponsors, including Nike (NKE, Fortune 500), have stuck by Woods.

Earlier this month, Woods admitted in a televised speech that he had been unfaithful to his wife and had been in therapy to deal with his issues. He said he plans to return to professional golf at some point.

-- CNN's Amy Sahba and CNNMoney.com's David Goldman contributed reporting. To top of page

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