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Friday, December 18, 2009
Tag Heuer drops Tiger from U.S. ads

Associated Press

GENEVA -- Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer says it will not use Tiger Woods' image in advertising campaigns in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin told Swiss daily Le Matin on Friday that the company was reacting to "recent events" surrounding the golfer.

"We recognize Tiger Woods as a great sportsman but we have to take account of the sensitivity of some consumers in relation to recent events," Babin was quoted saying.

Woods has taken an indefinite leave from golf to work on repairing his marriage after numerous allegations of infidelities.

The newspaper said Tag Heuer will continue to support Woods' charitable foundation but will use other brand ambassadors in U.S. ads, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

The watch maker could not immediately be reached for comment because the story was released on the newspaper's Web site after Tag Heuer's headquarters at La Chaux-de-Fonds closed for the holidays until Jan. 4. The full interview was to be published in Saturday's editions of Le Matin.

Tag Heuer joins other sponsors in backing away from Woods as his image has taken a beating since a Thanksgiving holiday car accident at the golfer's Florida home was followed by an admission of extramarital "transgressions."

Consulting firm Accenture dropped him as its representative last weekend, and Gillette said it would stop airing his ads for their razors.

Tag Heuer initially said Monday it would stand by Woods, but moderated its support later that day by saying it would assess its relationship with the world's highest-earning athlete.