December 14, 2016
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- With Tiger Woods switching to Bridgestone Golf, he plans to take a hands-on approach when it comes to the creation of future Bridgestone golf balls. (Bridgestone Golf)
Tiger Woods wasted little time signing his first equipment deal post-Nike Golf hard good. Bridgestone Golf announced on Thursday that Woods had agreed to terms on a multi-year deal that will see the 14-time major winner play the company's golf ball going forward.
“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,” Woods said in a press release. “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.”
Woods began using Bridgestone's B330-S ball earlier this month at the Hero World Challenge, marking the first time since 2000 that he's played something other than a Nike ball in competition.
Woods, who re-signed with Nike in 2013, was under contract to play Swoosh equipment until the company announced in August that it would no longer produce clubs and balls going forward. Immediately following the news, Woods' camp reached out to Bridgestone and other manufacturers to get product for him to test in the run-up to his competitive return.
"When the Nike situation happened, [Tiger's] camp was in contact with us almost immediately," said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone's head of golf ball marketing. "We sent him product and let him test the product and see what he wanted to do and drive the decision of what ball he wanted to play. It was all him when it came to deciding on the B330-S."
According to Rehberg, Woods gravitated towards the B330-S due to the trajectory and spin characteristics it offered. The four-piece ball features a new SlipRes coating that was added to the soft urethane cover and has the highest friction coefficient rating possible to maximize greenside spin without losing spin from the rough. The new coating also reduces driver spin for more distance off the tee.
In addition to the greenside spin and penetrating trajectory, Woods noticed he was getting an additional six yards during head-to-head ball testing.
"He's always played a ball with a softer cover that generated more spin around the green," said Rehberg. "Just talking with him about the ball, the thing he likes the most is the control he can put on it. He's always had very low trajectory on his wedges, and even lower trajectory around the greens, and the B330-S gives him the control he wants. He said it feels like the ball just gets stuck on the face and comes off very low, which allows him to be really aggressive around the greens."
Similar to when he was at Nike and played a part in the ball design process, Woods also plans to take a hands-on approach when it comes to the creation of future Bridgestone golf balls.
"He's very interested in the development of the product, and giving a lot of feedback" Rehberg said. "Specifically, one of the things we talked to him about was that he'll always be part of the R&D process when it's in the early stages. Even though he's playing the B330-S right now, we're already starting to talk to him about the future golf ball and about what he likes. He'll be a huge part of developing the ball going forward."
With Woods under contract to play Bridgestone's golf ball, attention now turns to the rest of the clubs in his bag. During his return in the Bahamas, Woods used a mix setup that consisted of TaylorMade M-Series woods, Nike irons and wedges and a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter.