Gatorade drops Tiger Woods sponsorship
Soft drink brand Gatorade says it is to drop a Tiger Woods-endorsed product but said it was not related to revelations about the golfer's private life.
PepsiCo-owned Gatorade said the decision to axe the Tiger Focus drink was made a few months ago.
Since the 14-times major winner crashed his car on 27 November, many women have claimed to have had affairs with Woods.
There are also reports that adverts featuring Woods have vanished from US prime-time broadcast and cable TV.
We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010
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According to data from US media research firm Nielsen, the last prime-time advert featuring the 33-year-old golfer was a 30-second Gillette item on 29 November.
That commercial was broadcast eight times during November, Nielsen spokesman Aaron Lewis said.
Woods' other sponsors include consultancy firm Accenture. He is reported to be the first sports star to be worth more than $1bn.
Nike has been Woods' biggest sponsor since the start of his career, signing its first contract with him as long ago as 1996.
He signed a five-year deal with Gatorade in 2007 for an estimated $100m (?61.7m).
"We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010," said PepsiCo in a statement.
The marketing of Gatorade is closely linked to sports. Other athletes it sponsors include former basketball player Michael Jordan and sprinter Usain Bolt.
Gatorade Tiger Focus was launched as a sports drink aimed at athletes.
Gatorade's website describes Gatorade Tiger Focus to be a drink "designed with athletes in mind, helping them to be as mentally tough as they are physically".
The decision to drop the drink was first reported by soft-drinks' industry newsletter, Beverage Digest, on 25 November - two days before Woods crashed his car and sparked off the chain of events which continues to feature in the global media.
Tiger Force was launched in March 2008, and according to Beverage Digest the Woods-backed drink represented less than 5% of Gatorade's volume.