With Woods in its sights, TLC lands star golfer as spokesman

Athlete had eye surgery at Rockville facility in fall


February 03, 2000|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Bethesda-based TLC Laser Eye Centers Inc. announced yesterday that professional golfer Tiger Woods will be a spokesman for the company after having corrective vision surgery at one of the centers in the fall.

Woods, a longtime wearer of corrective lenses, underwent the 20-minute surgical procedure at the Rockville TLC on Oct. 1.

"He went out that following weekend and won a tournament," said Jay Van Vechten, president of Van Vechten & Co., the Boca Raton, Fla., public relations firm representing TLC. "You hear this testimonial stuff all the time, but when you hear it from the mouth of a Tiger Woods, it makes you sit up and take notice. We already have seen such greatness out of him, but imagine what he can do now that he can see what he's doing."

The company declined to discuss its plans for Woods or the terms of the agreement.

"It was an amazing examination the first day Tiger visited the TLC office," said TLC Executive Director Reed Laughlin. "Here was America's hottest young superstar athlete, and the man had terrible vision."

Woods is one of the most sought-after corporate spokesmen, having endorsement contracts for Titleist golf equipment, sportswear company Nike Inc. and video-game company Electronic Arts Inc.

"By representing TLC, I hope my story will encourage anyone with poor vision to visit a TLC center to determine if they are a candidate for this life-changing surgery," Woods said in a statement.

TLC, the world's largest provider of vision-correction procedures including laser vision correction, has more than 50 centers across North America. Established in 1993, its doctors have performed more than 215,000 laser vision corrections, according to company documents.

TLC shares fell 14 cents in Nasdaq trading yesterday to close at $14.50.

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