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Tiger Woods will make his long-awaited return to golf this week – and is making a rare equipment change.

Since signing his first deal with Nike in 2000, the 15-time major winner has played a soft ball with more spin.

However, according to his current supplier Bridgestone in a report by, he will switch from the Tour B XS to the harder Tour B X for The Match and the PNC Championship.

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“These are more of an exhibition-type situation, and I think that’s factoring into his decision,” said Elliot Mellow, the brand’s golf ball marketing manager.

“So he’ll be a Tour B X player at least for the next few events. He’s been looking at distance and the greenside spin is where it needs to be.”

Mellow confirmed the Tour B X balls going into Woods’ bag will be identical to those on the shelves of sports shops across the world, apart from his number 1 and his name stamped on the side.

Despite the change, officials at Bridgestone do not expect it to be a permanent switch.

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“The Tour B XS is still a ball he helped co-design, and it’s a ball he’ll probably go back to in those situations where he needs more playability and workability in the golf ball,” said Mellow.

“We don’t get the impression this is a permanent thing. It’s more situational. He’s chasing distance more than spin for all the obvious reasons.”

Woods will make his return to golf at The Match this weekend when he and Rory McIlroy take on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The 12-hole exhibition will be his first competitive golf since the Open in July.

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