Tiger Woods is more valuable as an endorser than as a player, Bridgestone CEO Angel Ilagan told CNBC in an interview.
Talking on CNBC's "Power Lunch" last week, Ilagan was effusive in his praise for the 14-time major champion.
"Tiger Woods has been very positive for the game. As you know with golf, we've been experiencing declines in the recent years, but with Tiger on board, it's bringing a lot of consumers back to the game and excitement to the game and to Bridgestone," he said.
Woods, whose identity has long featured a Nike Swoosh, signed a deal in December 2016 agreeing to play Bridgestone balls. In the first half of 2017, the company, which is third in market share behind Titleist and Callaway, saw record growth.
"I think he will always be a powerful endorser," Ilagan added. "He is definitely the Michael Jordan of golf, the Ronaldo of golf, if you will, the Federer of golf, and whether he plays or not that doesn't really matter."
In addition to Woods, Bridgestone's Tour Team features Bryson DeChambeau, Brandt Sneaker, Fred Couples, Matt Kuchar, Karrie Webb, Cheyenne Woods, and Paula Creamer, among others.
"The industry is in a little bit of a panic even though it need not be," Ilagan told the host. "What we need to do is attract more consumers and more people to the game of golf."
Woods hasn't teed it up on the PGA Tour since January, and his return to the game is unknown. Still, Ilagan insisted, Woods brings invaluable attention to Bridgestone.
"He actually has more power as an endorser than he does as a player," Ilagan said. As for the Bridgestone B330-S, the ball that Tiger plays? "They're actually cheaper than the ProV1, and they're a lot better ball," Ilagan said with a smile.
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