Akron, Ohio:No longer affiliated with Tiger Woods or the tournament he won five times, credit card service company American Express signed an endorsement deal Friday with the PGA of America that showed how it has shifted its strategy in golf.
American Express, which in November became the first corporate partner of the US Golf Association, agreed to become an official patron of the PGA of America, which runs the US PGA Championship and Ryder Cup and has a membership of 28,000 teaching professionals.
Among other things, American Express card members will have access to Ryder Cup tickets starting next month.
Woods twice signed five-year endorsement deals with American Express, which led to one commercial in which Woods played the role of groundskeeper Carl Spackler in a spoof of the movie "Caddyshack." American Express also was title sponsor of a World Golf Championship that Woods won five times on five courses, the last one at The Grove outside London in September.
Amex vice president Rich Lehrfeld said while the relationship with Woods was strong, the company's marketing strategy has shifted to become even more geared toward consumers.
"He brought a lot of value to Amex. He's an incredible athlete with an incredible work ethic, and that runs well with what our brand is all about," Lehrfeld said. "Sometimes strategies change. We wanted to move our dollars to build a broader base of consumer experiences."