Bridgestone Golf is gearing up for a big 2017. Its fate may live or die with none other than Tiger Woods! Who else would you like to share a foxhole with? The company announced today it has signed Woods to a multi-year agreement to exclusively play and promote its golf balls. The only individual to record a run of 683 weeks as the top-ranked golfer in the world will launch his comeback in 2017 with the help of the B330-S ball. After thoroughly testing it against competing models from all major brands, 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. “After extensive testing I chose the best ball for my game. I like to see the golf ball in a certain window. If I look up and it’s not hitting that window, we have an issue. This ball is reacting, identical with how I want to play. For me, that’s fun,” said Woods.
“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,” said Woods. “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.
“As of right now, I’m longer than I’ve ever been,” he continued. “I’m about 6 yards longer. Being able to hit one, even half a club into the green is a huge advantage. I was shocked at how stable the ball is. The accuracy and aerodynamics are incredible. I like to shape shots, I like to move the ball, so for me with it being stable in the wind, it’s really nice.”
Woods was also notably impressed with the B330-S performance around the greens. “Around the greens I get it to one hop and stop. I hit some sweet spinners in the back yard, when I was testing. I tested all the golf balls on the market, and traditionally throughout my career I’ve played the spinniest ball. I’ve always been able to take spin off the ball. Balls have changed so much now, they are launching high up in the air and with spin. I’ve always wanted to play low, aggressive, spinny shots. And I’m able to do that with this ball. For me, that’s what this ball does. One of my advantages is I’ve always putted well on greens that are fast, and having a ball that is soft, I’m able to be an aggressive putter. I have some great friends that play Bridgestone and I knew they made a great ball.”
“No one spends more time perfecting their equipment than Tiger Woods, and no one holds their equipment to a higher standard,” said Angel Ilagan, President and CEO, Bridgestone Golf. “His choice of Bridgestone sends a clear message that our golf balls are superior to all others.”
Make no mistake Bridgestone Golf is out to make some big noise with this deal. Woods should help Bridgestone’s ball business. Regardless of how well or poor he plays, Woods is always big news. If he finds the winner’s circle again (once upon a time a forgone conclusion) will Bridgestone Golf have the resources available to it to divert some of the attention back to the brand? Woods will still have his Nike presence through his apparel and footwear contracts, which to the uninformed eye implies the old Tiger (and his old equipment) is back. Regardless of the initial economics involved in the deal, Bridgestone will need more in reserve (maybe much more) in order to seek the maximum return on its investment. The upside for Woods is he has a chance to make history when he returns to play. Bridgestone is clearly hoping for that to happen and lend a helping hand along the way. However, it will measure the success of the deal based on future sales in a category that features stiff competition. Adam Rehberg, Golf Ball Marketing, Bridgestone Golf, Inc., said the company experienced significant visibility when Woods put the B330 into play at the Hero recently. “Our social present and web site saw significant increases in views and visits. We were under negotiations at the time and really didn’t know what to expect. We had a 300,000% increase in visits to our Facebook page and we didn’t say a single word.”
The downside to the arrangement is if Woods doesn’t play to his expectations or has a health set back. Bridgestone has invested considered time, effort and capital (we can all safely assume) and it will result in it becoming an enormous distraction if Woods doesn’t play well or at all. This will quite likely be a significant part of Bridgestone’s marketing efforts going into next year, specifically that Woods selected its ball versus the competitions. Also that it aligns with its custom fitting message after Woods underwent his own testing to determine it was the best fit for his game.
The deal also signals that Woods and Company are open for business. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there are more deals still to come. If he were to sign with TaylorMade or Callaway, for example, then Bridgestone would see further competition in attracting eyeballs back to its brand. Going forward Woods’ return is exciting on a variety of fronts and Bridgestone is now part of that roller coaster ride. “To be quite honest, we don’t know what to expect going forward,” Rehberg summed up. He isn’t alone!