Tiger Woods, perhaps the best golfer in history, has been hampered by injuries for the better part of two years and has not won since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He recently finished in second place at the Valspar Championship, followed by tens of thousands of people on the course, and millions via television. Then, he contended for a victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The crowds and TV ratings soared even higher.
Woods is now favored to win the holy grail of golf — the Masters. His sponsors, who have gotten little exposure recently, have started to get an explosion of attention. This could continue throughout the year, and beyond if Tiger is in the mix for the balance of the PGA season.
Most people, including probably Woods himself, did not think his game would turn so positive so quickly. He has a total of 79 PGA tour wins over his career, ahead of the 72 Jack Nicklaus won and three behind Sam Snead, who won his 82 over a 30-year career. Woods has been on the tour for 18 years. The current Woods comeback has also rekindled the discussion of whether he can catch Nicklaus in total wins at majors (The British Open, Masters, U.S. Open and PGA). Nicklaus has 18 and Woods 14.
Woods’s most predominant and most loyal sponsor is Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE). It has an army of endorsements across every major sport in the world. But Woods has been the marquee golfer on its list. Nike stands to gain the most from the attention Woods has started to receive.
Another big name in sports equipment should have a pickup in exposure, and sales, because of the success of Woods. TaylorMade is among the world’s leaders in golf club and golf ball sales. Next, Woods has an unusual golf ball endorsement. He uses balls made by Bridgestone, a Japanese rubber company founded in 1931. It is in the process of trying to break into the U.S. golf ball market, which is dominated by Titleist, Top Flight, Callaway and TaylorMade.
Among Woods’s better known sponsors is Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: MNST), which makes energy drinks. It also has a long line of athletes it sponsors, from car racers to boxers.
Woods is also sponsored by Upper Deck, a trading card company, and Full Swing, which makes golf simulation equipment.
Well known or not, each of the companies on the Woods sponsor list is about to get an avalanche of exposure.