Sunday 30 April 2017

Tiger Woods' contract a winner before he starts comeback

Woods:
Woods: "When it came to making a final decision, the choice was easy – it all came down to performance, which is why I chose TaylorMade.” Photo: Getty Images

William S Callahan

Tiger Woods has already generated massive worldwide publicity for new equipment sponsor TaylorMade following the announcement that he has signed a multi-year contract with the company.

That's a welcome and immediate pay-off for the millions of dollars the equipment manufacturer is believed to have paid for Woods' signature.

The timing of the announcement was carefully planned to take advantage of Tiger's return to the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines today.

Woods and other top players including Rory McIlroy had to make changes following Nike's decision to stop making golf equipment last August.

McIlroy had spent four years under their banner, while Woods linked up with Nike in 2002.

McIlroy remains undecided about his options, and all testing is stopped while he recovers from a rib stress fracture.

Ironically, the Northern Irishman has partly blamed all the experiments with clubs from a variety of companies vying for his signature for the stress fracture, but Woods has done the testing and is happy to go with TaylorMade.

This week he will have a '16 M2 driver, '17 M2 3-wood and '17 M1 5-wood in his bag at Torrey Pines. Woods will work with TaylorMade engineers over the next few months on crafting irons and wedges to suit his requirements.

He will, however, retain the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter which he used in winning 13 of his 14 Major titles, and he signed a deal to play Bridgestone golf balls last month.

"Throughout my career, I've always been meticulous about my equipment.

"Over the past few months, I've had clubs from every brand sent to me to test. When it came to making a final decision, the choice was easy - it all came down to performance, which is why I chose TaylorMade," said Woods in a media release.

Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, and Seamus Power represent the Irish challenge at Torrey Pines.

Harrington and Lowry are making their first appearances of 2017, and Harrington tweeted: "Looking forward to my first week back @FarmersIns Open. 9 weeks without playing a single hole of golf. Not sure if I'd be a good bet this week!"

Lowry played nine holes of practice with Justin Rose and Power.

The Waterford man will hope to do well this week in his eighth PGA Tour event because his status as a Web.Com Tour graduate does not get him into the next two tournaments at Phoenix and Riviera CC.

Graeme McDowell and Paul Dunne will tee it up at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which starts today in Doha as part of the 'Desert Swing'.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.30am

Farmers Insurance Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm

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