Tiger Woods isn’t playing much golf these days, but that’s apparently not affecting his impact as a product endorser.
After years with the Nike swoosh emblazoned on his golf ball, Woods was one of many players impacted when the company decided to exit the golf equipment space last year. When he returned to action at the Hero World Challenge in December, he did so using a Bridgestone golf ball. Later that month, Bridgestone announced it had signed Woods to a “multi-year” deal to play their ball.
But Woods has made only two competitive starts in the 10 months since that announcement, missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and withdrawing after one round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. He underwent lumbar fusion surgery in April and explained at last week’s Presidents Cup that his timetable to return to golf remains in the hands of his surgeons.
While it may seem like a set of circumstances that could be problematic for a company like Bridgestone, its chief executive paints a far different picture.
“He actually has more power as an endorser than he does a player,” Angel Ilagan, Bridgestone Golf CEO, told CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “One of the things that we like about having Tiger Woods on board is that he’s really a sports or golf junkie. A science junkie, if you will, and he won’t be playing anything that’s not the very best.”
Ilagan described Woods as someone who “will always be a powerful endorser” and compared the 41-year-old to other promotional legends like NBA legend Michael Jordan, soccer sensation Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis star Roger Federer.
“Whether he plays or not doesn’t really matter,” Ilagan said. “Obviously it would be to our benefit if he did play, because we’d just get more and more brand awareness of the fact that he is playing a Bridgestone ball with our nice ‘B’ logo on the side of that ball.”