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Gatorade drops Tiger Woods drink, but blames low sales not scandal

NEW YORK - Gatorade, the soft drink brand owned by PepsiCo, has decided to drop its Tiger Woods-endorsed variant, but said that the decision had been made before the car accident in late November that led to a spate of lurid revelations about the golfer's private life.

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Gatorade Tiger Focus was positioned as a sports drink that would help to improve focus, as part of the Gatorade range aimed at athletes.

While Woods' sponsors have, to date, not rushed to drop the star, a stream of kiss-and-tell reports from women claiming to have had affairs with the married star is tarnishing his clean-cut reputation. The claims came after a car accident involving Tiger Woods in November, sparked, according to reports, after his wife found out about his infidelity. While being tight-lipped on specifics, Woods has since apologised for letting his family down.

PepsiCo said that this was not the reason behind its decision. "We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010," the company said in a statement.

Gatorade's marketing is closely linked with sports and it sponsors some of the most famous athletes in the world including the former basketballer Michael Jordan and sprinter Usain Bolt.

Woods' other sponsors include Gillette and consultancy firm Accenture. He is reported to be the first sports star to be worth more than $1 billion.

Other brands using Woods in their advertising have not run ads featuring him on US TV in the wake of allegations relating to his private life, according to data from Nielsen.

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