After the first round of play at the Farmer Insurance Open, Tiger Woods is even par, which puts him in the middle of the field based on score. However, the crowds that followed him around the Torrey Pines South Course are like they have been for years — unprecedented numbers. The crowds are even more impressive given that Woods has not been in an official event since 2015 when he played in the Wyndam Championship. The exposure is good for Woods, and even better for his major sponsors.
Woods sponsors have benefited some because of his fame both on and off the golf course. Despite his lack of official playing time, he is among the most famous athletes in the world. For sponsors, however, there is nothing like the TV exposure they get with their logos on his clothing and bag.
The sponsor that has stayed with Woods throughout his personal problems and his time off the course is Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE). The week, its logo is planted prominently on his shirt.
Woods is using a new TaylorMade driver and fairway metals. Nearly identical clubs are available to amateurs. TaylorMade almost certainly will find that these clubs fly off the shelf.
Woods uses a Bridgestone ball. The company has had almost no exposure in the United States, where Titleist dominates the category. TaylorMade and Top-Flight also do well in the category. Without Woods, Bridgestone would be invisible in the category.
Another major Woods sponsor is energy drink Monster Energy. Its other major source of exposure is its participation in NASCAR. The drink company has its logo on Woods’s bag, and its executives certainly hope he makes the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. It should trigger a good deal more exposure on network TV.
Woods’s sponsors have waited a long time for him to return to competitive golf. Now they finally will get something substantial for their investments.