He may never win an Oscar, but as far as the Screen Actors Guild ( SAG) is concerned, Tiger Woods is a thespian, not a golfer. That's why the union, which has been on strike against the advertising industry since May, is so upset: On July 26, Woods filmed a Buick spot with a nonunion crew in Toronto. Woods, praised earlier this summer by SAG for refusing to do a Nike ad, drew the ire of the Guild and its supporters. "He made a big mistake," said veteran commercial director Joe Pytka, who also directed Michael Jordan's Space Jam. "His excuse was that he had a contract with Buick, but he also has a contract with the [union], so he chose corporate America over his actor colleagues. There are grave implications here."
One of them is that Woods could be kicked out of SAG, which would prevent his working in future union productions—in other words, almost all commercials. "This was a blatant crossing of the picket line," says SAG spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven. In contrast, she says, Lance Armstrong did the right thing in turning down a bevy of commercials. Woods has been ordered to appear before a SAG tribunal in L.A. on Aug. 18. That conflicts with a tee time he has—at the PGA Championship in Louisville. "He can do it by teleconference," says Kichaven, "or his representatives can speak for him."
The problem is, Woods's reps at IMG don't know what to say. "Is it a mea culpa they're looking for?" asks IMG spokeswoman Linda Dozoretz. "He held off as long as he could. The Buick campaign is themed around the Olympics, and it was getting down to the wire."
Woods is "sympathetic to the cause," says Dozoretz, "but he is, after all, a golfer, not an actor." Who ever said golf was a team sport?