It’s been almost a year since Tiger Woods signed a long-term deal to play the Bridgestone Tour B-330S ball.
Since signing the deal on December 15, 2016, Woods has managed just five competitive rounds of golf – so you would expect that Bridgestone Golf CEO Angel Ilagan to be very excited about his comeback at the Hero World Challenge later this month.
However, that isn’t really the case, with Ilagan saying Woods has already had the desired impact for the brand simply by opting to play the ball.
When asked by Yahoo! whether Woods’ comeback would result in the pay-off Bridgestone had been waiting for, Ilagan replied: “Actually the pay-off has already occurred for us. His endorsement value is what’s really important for us.
“He’s known as a bit of an equipment geek and he picked our ball as the best ball out there. So it’s just added gravy for us if he plays. It’s more brand awareness that he’s playing the best ball in golf.”
Ilagan then made a bold claim about Woods that the likes of the late Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Gary Player would surely dispute, saying: “He’s the only golfer in the history of golf that has actually had a positive financial impact."
He continued: "I don’t think the big-time athlete really has an impact – unless they transcend the game, such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan. If they don’t transcend the game and they can’t reach out and become somebody that people listen to and believe in, it’s not something that makes any value.
“Their play alone is not sufficient enough to create financial gains for an equipment company or sports company.”