Should memorabilia collectors still invest in Tiger Woods?

The internet is awash with opinion over Nike's new advert featuring Tiger Woods, which bizarrely features the golfer being questioned about his recent troubles by his late father.

Nike's advert uses old recordings of Earl Woods, whose voice appears to address Tiger (who looks dejectedly into the camera) about his recent sex scandal.

"Did you learn anything...?" asks the voice, before the sports manufacturer's famous tick logo leaves viewers on a cliff hanger.

The ad has received mixed reviews. Some have dismissed it as creepy, while others have lauded the advert's subtle refocus on Tiger's success on the golf course, rather than his personal life.

And Tiger certainly has plenty of success to fall back on. He has more career and PGA tour wins than any other active golfer, and is the youngest and fastest player to win 50 tournaments on tour.

Tiger Woods: back to the golf course

"The golf maestro is an advertiser's dream," reported Paul Fraser Collectibles back in October 2009, before Tiger's alleged "transgressions" had been exposed.

"[He is] young, clean living, and phenomenally successful," we wrote. Well, two out of three isn't bad...

In the wake of the scandal, Tiger's various sponsors chose to part company with him. Accenture Plc dropped Woods from its advertising, while luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer 're-examined its ties' with the golfer.

Nike, along with Electronic Arts, on the other hand, chose to stick by him.

But what kind of impact has the Tiger Woods' scandal had on his memorabilia, overall? The answer is, apparently, not much.

Mike Heffner is president of Lelands, the New York-based auction house, which once sold Babe Ruth's first homerun ball hit in the Yankee Stadium.

"I don't think it's going to affect [Woods' memorabilia] that greatly. Other athletes have been through these trials and tribulations, and they're remembered for what they did in their field." - Mike Heffner, Lelands auctioneers, New York

Lelands' previous Tiger Woods collectibles sales have included his tournament-worn shirt, for $20,000.

But, even as the daily tabloid coverage continues, Heffner says he has no plans to raise or lower the prices on his Woods collectibles.

"He didn't get caught cheating on the golf course, he got caught cheating at home," said Heffner.

The bottom line with Tiger Woods memorabilia is the scarcity factor - he rarely signs autographs, for instance - and that factor will remain, regardless of what happens in his personal life.


A signed Tiger Golf ball can sell for $1,000 or more. And such items will continue to appreciate the longer Woods' golfing hiatus, and his break from the limelight, lasts.

"I'd say he'll be more elusive when it comes to signing, which, in turn, will make the value even greater," said Hefner.

A signed baseball cap bearing Tiger Woods' extremely valuable signature

Heffner recommends that collectors wait for the scandal to settle down before buying Woods memorabilia, to avoid inflated prices.

However, at Paul Fraser Collectibles, our prices have stayed the same throughout the scandal. This signed Tiger Woods baseball cap can be considered a bargain - we've seen them on offer at a 20% premium elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Collectibles has issued a press release proudly endorsing Woods' memorabilia: "He is an outstanding professional golf player who is considered the best," it reads.

So, it appears that there are plenty of sports fans who couldn't care less what the tabloids say about Tiger Woods.

And, in terms of the value of his memorabilia and autographs, it might be worth remembering an old saying: today's newspaper is tomorrow's chip wrapping.

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