Tiger Woods' decision over the weekend to take an indefinite leave from the game of golf in an attempt to repair his family and his reputation isn't necessarily a bombshell. His presence on the golf course would be a major distraction, and it would send the wrong message about the severity of his apparently multiple extramarital affairs.

However, plenty of companies will suffer as the game's greatest current player takes his leave. Lots of disappointed sponsors and companies rely on the popularity of golf, and both they and their shareholders will pay the price for Woods' actions.

Let's go over a few of the names.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS): The company behind the Tiger Woods video game is in a pickle. Its Madden football franchise has survived John Madden's retirement from broadcasting, but the annual Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise may not be so lucky. Between his absence from the game and the disgraced state of his name as a brand, it wouldn't be a surprise to see EA strip the golfer's name from the franchise by the time PGA Tour 11 comes out.  

Accenture (NYSE:ACN): The management-consulting giant became the first company to officially cut ties with Woods yesterday, when it issued a press release ending the golfer's six-year stint. It would be easy to conclude that the company won't suffer much from the Woods fallout, but I'm not so sure. Accenture prides itself on consulting major corporations, offering outsourcing of operations, and gauging trends. It's in a lose-lose situation. If it took on Woods without knowing of his infidelities, then it's disgraced for lacking character-judgment skills. If it knew about his transgressions and chose to look the other way, it loses the ethical battle.

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP): The salty-snacks and fizzy-pop parent of Gatorade is pulling its Tiger Woods-branded Focus beverage. It claims that the cancellation was already in the works, given the product's lackluster sales, but Woods has been associated with Gatorade in general. PepsiCo probably won't suffer as badly as other sponsors will. It has several star athlete sponsors, including some who have had minor scandals of their own in the past.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG): Over the weekend, Procter & Gamble announced that it will stop airing its Gillette Fusion Power razor ads starring Woods. P&G is in the PepsiCo camp as a highly diversified conglomerate, and one for which the scandal is unlikely to make much of a dent on its bottom line.

Nike (NYSE:NKE): Like Gatorade, Nike throws its weight around with several celebrity endorsements. But it won't get off as easily. Nike's business is tied to golf's popularity. Beyond its Air Zoom TW 2009 golf shoes, the company is bound to lose out on sales of its other golfing shoes and course apparel if interest in the sport wanes. Given how television ratings spike whenever Woods is on tour, that could definitely happen.

Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY): The maker of oversized golf clubs isn't backed by Woods, but the company's iffy fate rests on the same theory that will sting Nike: If folks lose interest in golf, they're not going to buy Callaway's Big Bertha drivers, signature golf balls, and branded game apparel, footwear, and accessories.

AT&T (NYSE:T): Tiger Woods was slated to host the third annual AT&T National golf tournament next summer, but that seems unlikely at this point. Without Woods, media attention and ratings may very well tank. AT&T also secured its name on Woods' golf bag earlier this year, and that's another bet that won't pay off with the desired exposure. AT&T is probably too big for any of this fallout to make a difference. If anything, most consumers probably associate Luke Wilson as AT&T's celebrity endorser, given the plethora of his ads that the telco giant is running to counter Verizon's "there's a map for that" campaign.  

The scorecard
Woods' world began to come undone on Nov. 25, when The National Enquirer claimed the golfer was having an affair with a New York party organizer. He crashed his SUV two days later, and it's been all downhill for Woods ever since.

Let's see how these seven stocks have performed relative to the S&P 500 in that time.

































S&P 500




Back out the 8% slide in shares of Electronic Arts -- a drop more likely tied to the general malaise in the video-game industry at the moment -- and you have a basket of stocks that has mostly shrugged off the Woods incident. Three of the seven stocks have beaten the market in that time.

I don't think the indifference will last, especially for Nike, Callaway, and, to a lesser extent, EA, since they're all companies that need the public to remain interested in the sport of golf.


You've just been warned about the incoming shot.

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Electronic Arts is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Accenture is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Pepsico and Procter & Gamble are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can play a mean round of miniature golf, and that's about it. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.