All eyes will be on Tiger Woods this week in the Bahamas, where the 14-time major champion will make his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge. Speculation is rampant about how Woods will play, and also what he will play given Nike’s decision to shutter its golf equipment business in August, making the most famous golfer in the world an equipment free agent.
Woods has had months to test the latest gear, but it’s still not clear if even he is certain what he will use come Thursday. Based on reports, the smart money is on Woods using TaylorMade woods (driver, 3 wood and 5 wood), Nike irons (3-PW), Nike wedges (56 and 60) and the Scotty Cameron putter he trusted for 13 of his 14 major championship wins. We’ll wait to confirm those changes until we arrive at Albany later in the week.
There are two switches, however, that are appear to be locks this week.
The first is Tiger’s decision to use Bridgestone’s B330S golf ball, reported by Steve DiMeglio of USA Today. Woods was previously using Nike’s RZN Black golf ball.
The B330S, also used by Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau, is one of two Bridgestone golf ball models played on the PGA Tour. It’s a four-piece design that has a slightly higher-spinning construction than Bridgestone’s B330, which is played by Brandt Snedeker.
The other change is Woods’ golf bag itself, which according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell will be branded with a Monster Energy Drink logo.
While it’s hard to imagine Woods chugging Monsters on the course, energy drink endorsements are nothing new to professional golf. Rickie Fowler, arguably the most well-known golfer outside the sport after Woods, has an endorsement with Red Bull. Jim Furyk has also been an endorser of 5-Hour Energy since 2012.
Related: See the clubs Woods in 2015
Woods has had six previous bag sponsors: Titleist, Buick, AT&T, Nike, Fuse Science and MusclePharm. MusclePharm was the latest, and disclosed in SEC filings that it paid Woods $7 million to carry the bag for two years, and paid the golfer an additional $2.5 million to terminate the deal in May.
According to Woods’ website, the golfer’s current sponsors include Nike, Hero, Kowa, Upper Deck, Rolex and a partnership with the PGA Tour.
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