As one of the few sponsors that were willing to maintain a partnership relation with Tiger Woods during the public scandal with which the golfer was hit last year, EA CEO John Riccitiello has stated that the long-term future of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise may be in danger if the eponymous golfer does not return to his former position as the world’s best male golfer. Woods lost this position to Lee Westwood in October 2010.
Speaking with Reuters, Riccitiello stated that EA currently has “no plans to move away from him, but it’s a business relationship on the basis of ‘we make the best golf game’ and ‘he’s the best golfer’. Both of those things need to be true in the long run for the partnership to make sense.” Though the sale of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011 was down by 68% as compared to sales before Woods was hit with his scandal, Riccitiello did indicate that EA would cooperate with Woods to bring at least one more installment in the franchise: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012.
Though Woods has not yet won a major tournament in recent months, EA remains “willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a period of time.”