By Barry Janoff
December 15, 2016: Calling it an "essential part of my equipment," Tiger Woods has signed a multi-year deal to use Bridgestone Golf balls on an exclusive basis.
"The No. 1 most important item in the bag is the ball,” Woods wrote on the Bridgestone Golf Web site.
Woods selected the Bridgestone Tour B330-S ball "after thoroughly testing it against competing models from all major brands,” according to Bridgestone Golf. "Through his personal research, Woods determined the Bridgestone ball provided superior distance and accuracy off the tee for him, as well as optimal spin on shots into and around the green."
Financial terms of the deal were not shared.
Woods had been a long-time partner with Nike Golf, but the brand is transitioning out of equipment — including clubs, balls and bags — in order to "accelerate innovation" in its golf footwear and apparel business.
Woods is expected to sign a new deal for golf clubs, as well.
As part of the alliance, Woods will be featured in digital, social, print and broadcast marketing globally as a Bridgestone Golf ambassador.
In addition, Woods will support the Bridgestone ball-fitting program, "which he believes can stimulate a new generation of golfers and increase enjoyment for all players," per Bridgestone Golf.
Woods played in the recent Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, his first official tournament in some 16 months due to surgery and rehabilitation. He is scheduled to play in the 2017 Genesis Open, Feb. 13-19, 2017, at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Woods’ TGR Live firm is the host of the tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.
"Finding the right golf ball is extremely important. It's an essential part of my equipment, and the Bridgestone B330-S ball is hands-down the best for my game," Woods said in a statement. "Controlling launch and trajectory is critical, and with this ball I feel I have total control to hit all shots accurately. I'm not just here to play – I'm here to win, and the innovative breakthroughs of the Bridgestone B330-S ball can help me do that."
Woods' other deals include Hero MotoCorp, Kowa, Rolex, Upper Deck and Monster Energy, whose logo is on his golf bag. He earns about $45 million from endorsements.
Bridgestone Golf is title sponsor for the annual World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Bridgestone Corp. this year signed on as an official partner with the International Olympic Committee through 2024 and as a founding partner for the Olympic Channel.
Golf returned to the Summer Games in 2016 for the first time since 1904 and will be part of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, where the company has its global corporate headquarters. Bridgestone is also an official partner with the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Worldwide sponsorship spend on golf is expected to top a record $1.82 billion this year, up 5.1% from the $1.72 billion spent in 2015, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
Woods joins a Bridgestone Golf roster that includes FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker, Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar, Masters winner Fred Couples, three-time Major champion Nick Price and up-and-comer Bryson DeChambeau.
"No one spends more time perfecting their equipment than Tiger Woods, and no one holds their equipment to a higher standard," Angel Ilagan, president and CEO for Bridgestone Golf, said in a statement. "His choice of Bridgestone sends a clear message that our golf balls are superior to all others."
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