EA Sports will continue to associate its golf video games with Tiger Woods despite the pro athlete's recent widely-publicized extramarital affair, the publisher has confirmed in the runup to the launch of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online
The company professed its loyalty to Woods last month
, but since then, additional allegations of multiple affairs involving the golfer have surfaced.
Electronic Arts has been a major sponsor of Woods since 1997, and has attached his name to its PGA Tour
series of golf games since 1998. That naming convention will continue with the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online
later this month.
"Our relationship with Tiger has always been rooted in golf," reads a statement attributed to EA Sports president Peter Moore
. "We chose to partner with Tiger in 1997 because we saw him as the world's best, most talented and exciting golfer. We struck that partnership with the assumption that he would remain near or at the top of his sport for years to come."
Some of Woods' sponsors, including Gilette, have suspended his endorsements, while others -- most notably Accenture, one of his most visible associates -- have dropped him entirely.
The EA statement, made on Moore's weblog, vaguely acknowledges Woods' controversial actions but reaffirms his athletic abilities.
"By his own admission, he's made some mistakes off the course," the post continues. "But regardless of what's happening in his personal life, and regardless of his decision to take a personal leave from the sport, Tiger Woods is still one of the greatest athletes in history."
While there were several positive comments in response to the blog post, the overwhelming majority of them expressed disapproval at EA's decision.
"Golf is a game steeped in etiquette and respect for the rules, the game & the other players," wrote commenter The-Gupta. "Honesty and integrity are paramount in golf. You profess to hold high the most dishonest person in the sport today as its hero! That is LAUGHABLE."