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Tiger Woods goes on Nike filming strike

Tiger Woods was no different today from more than 100,000 commercial actors whose anonymous faces and voices help sell soap, coffee and hundreds of other products.

He was on strike.

The golf star joined the walkout by TV and radio commercial actors, refusing to film an ad for Nike.

Woods was to shoot the TV commercial at his home course of Isleworth Country Club outside Orlando, Fla.. But Woods is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, which began its first strike in 12 years on Monday.

The guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represent about 135,000 actors, demand a bigger cut from the cable market.

"We have no plans to shoot any commercials for several weeks," said Mark Steinberg, Woods's agent at IMG. "There is a strike going on, and we're abiding by it."

Nike spokesman Mike Kelly would not reveal the nature of the commercial, but said the goal was to have it ready in time for the U.S. Open, which begins June 15.

"The last I heard it was to be rescheduled," Kelly said. "Tiger's schedule is pretty hectic so it's hard to say. It may be a couple of months, it may be a couple of weeks."

Woods's decision was greeted enthusiastically by SAG.

"We deeply appreciate the support," SAG spokesman Greg Krizman said. Woods "stands together with the working class SAG and AFTRA performers who depend on a fair commercials contract to maintain a decent standard of life."

Woods, the world's No. 1 player and winner of 18 PGA Tour tournaments since turing pro in 1996, has become one of the most popular pitchmen in sports and has done TV commercials for Buick and American Express, in addition to Nike.

Among his commercials was an impromptu ad for Nike in which he bounced a golf ball on a wedge for about 20 seconds -- behind his back, between his legs -- and hit the ball in midair after the final bounce.

Woods's deal with Nike is being renegotiated and could pay him a reported $80 million to $90 million over five years.

The strike centers on the pay structure for commercials. Actors get a minimum of about $478 for a day's work and also get "pay-per-play" residuals of roughly $50 to $120 each time a spot airs on network television.

When it comes to cable TV commercials, however, performers receive only a flat fee of $1,000 or less for each 13-week, unlimited run.

With two-thirds of all TV ads now being made for cable, actors are demanding that pay-per-play be extended to cable as well. Advertisers, however, want to extend the flat fee from cable to the networks.

Union membership is mandatory for anyone who appears in more than one commercial, athletes included. The unions have vowed to picket film shoots proceeding with nonunion actors or guild members not honouring the strike.

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