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Global consulting firm Accenture drops Woods sponsorship

Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. has ended its relationship with Tiger Woods, marking the first major sponsor to cut ties altogether with the golfer since his alleged infidelities surfaced and he announced an indefinite leave from the sport, The Associated Press reports.

In its first statement since Woods' scandal erupted, Accenture said yesterday that the golfer is "no longer the right representative" after the "circumstances of the last two weeks." The move ends a six-year relationship during which the firm credited its "Go on, be a Tiger" campaign with boosting its image significantly. Accenture has used Woods to personify its claimed attributes of integrity and high performance.

The firm is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, according to Woods' Web site. With about 177,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, the firm generated net revenues of $21.58 billion for the 2009 fiscal year.

"After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising," Accenture said, adding that "it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family."

The firm plans to immediately move to a new ad campaign. An Accenture spokeswoman said it is company policy not to discuss details of sponsorship contracts.

Accenture's advertising campaign was almost entirely built around Woods and his success by portraying his greatness on the golf course by making a key putt or chipping out of the rough. If Woods had acknowledged mistakes and said he would be back in a month, Accenture might be able to ride it out, said Rick Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University, in an interview.Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, did not immediately comment. The PGA Tour said it would have no comment. Accenture has been title sponsor since 2001 of the Match Play Championship, a lucrative World Golf Championship event that draws the top 64 players from the world ranking. Accenture earlier this year renewed its sponsorship of the tournament through 2014. The contract is separate from its business endorsement with Woods.

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