Tiger Woods has several golf-related endorsement deals, as one would expect, plus a few others with companies associated with pharmaceuticals, motorcycles, trading cards and energy drinks. It doesn’t appear that he has an official arrangement with a chewing-gum brand — but that should change after his triumph Sunday at the Masters.
In fact, Woods’s breakthrough win, his first at Augusta since 2005 and his first major of any kind since 2008, probably should have all the major gum brands lining up around the block to sponsor him. That’s because Woods very much proved he could walk (off with a legacy-altering, much-watched victory) and chew gum at the same time.
In the past, when Woods’s mouth has garnered attention during a golf tournament, it has been for barking obscenities after bad shots. However, this time it was because of what was in the 43-year-old’s mouth, and given how rarely he made a regrettable swing at the Masters, some were happy to make the connection.
Seemingly no one could recall seeing Woods chew gum while competing, so the new habit was noticeable as soon as he teed off in Thursday’s first round. “Have you noticed Tiger hasn’t missed a putt since putting in a stick of gum???” a fan asked that day of the Tiger Tracker Twitter account.
Finally, with major No. 15 in the books Sunday, Woods was asked about it, and he offered a somewhat questionable response.
“Well, I’m chomping on this gum because I usually get hungry. I keep eating so much, and it curbs my appetite a little bit, which is nice,” Woods said. “Most of the time, most of the issues I have at tournaments, I lose so much weight, as you all know.”
If losing so much weight during tournaments is an issue for Woods, why would he want to curb his appetite? In a New York Times article published last month, he “noted that Michael Jordan chewed gum when he played basketball” and “said he has chewed gum on occasion for a quick sugar boost.”
That makes some sense, but perhaps the more noteworthy takeaway from the Times story was that it was centered on the new habit of in-round gum-chewing adopted by Woods’s longtime rival/recent BFF Phil Mickelson. “The chewing aspect stimulates the frontal cortex,” Mickelson said.
It’s quite possible that Woods noticed Mickelson, who said he began chewing while playing in January, working over a piece or two while getting off to a hot start this season, including second place at the Desert Classic and a win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“Think about what you do under pressure,” a mental-game coach who has worked with PGA golfers said in 2017 to Golf.com. “You get stressed and tense, you clench your jaw. When you’re chewing gum, you can’t keep your jaw clenched. You’re opening and closing. So releasing that tension could calm you down.”
Mickelson isn’t the first golfer to go into gum-slinger mode during a tournament. The late Payne Stewart was a fan and, more recently, Jordan Spieth chewed his way through the opening rounds of the 2017 British Open en route to a win at Royal Birkdale.
Telling reporters after the first round that year that he had been given some gum by his instructor while warming up on the practice range, Spieth said: “I was 1 under through two, and I thought I better keep it in, and it’s still in now. It’s probably time for a new piece.”
It could well be time for a new endorsement deal for Woods. Given that he’s known for, among other things, a toothy smile — never more so than after sinking his final putt Sunday — perhaps Dentyne would want to partner up?
(H/T Golf Digest)
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