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Tiger Woods films commercial despite strike

Fresh off his historic victory in theOpen, Tiger Woods broke ranks from the Screen Actors Guild's strike by filming a commercial Wednesday in Canada for General Motors.

Woods was in the Toronto area for a Buick commercial. The 30-second spot shows Woods winning a number of track and field events in the Sydney Olympics using only his golf clubs.

"Tiger is very empathetic toward actors and entertainers," agent Mark Steinberg said. "All he's doing is living up to his contractual obligations. He's an athlete. He has to uphold his relationships."

Woods signed a five-year, $30 million deal with General Motors late this past year and carries the Buick brand on his golf bag.

SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represent about 135,000 actors, went on strike May 1. The unions want to change the advertising industry's pay structure.

Woods and other athletes who make TV commercials are mandatory members.

He went along with the strike in May by cancelling commercial shoots for Nike, his top sponsor, which were supposed to be shown the week of the U.S. Open. That proved costly when Woods won at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes.

Since then, Shaquille O'Neal made a commercial by saying, "I'm going to Disneyland" after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title, and Olympic sprinters Michael Johnson and Marion Jones made commercials for Nike.

Steinberg said Woods did not technically break the strike because the spot was filmed in Canada. SAG spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven disagreed and said Woods could be subject to disciplinary action.

"If there's a commercial being done in Canada, it is breaking the strike," Kichaven said.

Woods, 24, has become the most marketable figure in sports. After shattering records to win the US Open, he became the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam with another record-setting performance in theOpen at St. Andrews.

Buick said while it was aware of the strike, it was only protecting its interests.

"We delayed this shoot as long as we possibly could," spokesman John Wray said, referring to the Olympic theme of the commercials.

He said Buick would continue to develop TV commercials only as needed, but will do what it must to remain competitive.

It was Woods' first commercial since SAG went on strike.

"His only stance is being loyal to his sponsors," Steinberg said. "Tiger's position is, 'If I was an actor, I probably wouldn't be doing this (filming the commercial). But my trade is sports. I'm an athlete.'"


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