Tiger Woods bottoms out as Masters merchandise endorser

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods is No. 1 in the world golf rankings but nearly last when it comes to shilling commodities.

Tiger Woods may be the most recognizable golfer in the world but he pretty much sucks at convincing consumers to buy whatever he’s shilling.

Woods, known by more than 98 percent of people in the U.S. and some 80 percent of folks worldwide, ranks in the bottom five percent of celebrities consumers trust as brand endorsers, according to a pre-Masters study from Celebrity DBI, the sports-marketing research arm of global researcher Repucom.

Speaking of the Masters, defending champion Adam Scott may be No. 2 in the world to Tiger’s No. 1 (at least until the scorecards are tallied Sunday night), but he reigns almost as supreme as a product pitcher as a pitcher of the golf ball. With the Masters set to start on Thursday, last year’s winner has earned the marketing trust of nearly 88 percent of people in the U.S. who know who he is.

Three-time green jacket winner Phil Mickelson also boasts a high score as an endorser, coming up just shy of Scott’s numbers, with 87 percent of people who know of Lefty buying what he’s selling.

"This ranking of the most effective endorsers in golf today gives sponsors a very good indication of not only the best endorsers at this year’s Masters, but also the ‘ones to watch’ in terms of sponsorship potential," Charlie Dundas, head of Repucom’s strategic product innovation, said in a statement on Tuesday.

With Scott’s effectiveness as a product pitchman increasing from 80 percent in 2012, it’s clear that Sunday's winner will bring smiles and a bundle of cash to his sponsors. Masters rookie Jordan Spieth, for instance, harnesses huge sponsorship potential, with Repucom ranking him higher as an endorser than two-time major champion Rory McIlroy and the winner of four grand slam events, Ernie Els.

Woods, at home recovering from back surgery, won’t have the opportunity to turn the tide of buying sentiment in his favor. Despite his notoriety, Tiger, thanks largely to the well-publicized troubles in his private life, bottoms out as someone buyers trust.

Repucom, by the way, reported in December that Scott, who has a chance to overtake Woods for the top ranking in the world after this week’s major, had already surpassed the 14-time major champion in popularity and marketability.

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(Graphic: Repucom)

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