Tiger Woods Inks Deal With Rolex, First Major Contract Since Scandal

TAG Heuer Had Ended Endorsement Deal in July

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Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods Credit: AP
Tiger Woods has agreed to endorse luxury watchmaker Rolex Group, his first major sponsorship deal since the scandal that followed the car crash in November 2009 that led to his admission of marital infidelity and divorce.

Terms of the golfer's contract weren't disclosed in a statement on Geneva-based Rolex's website.

An email seeking comment from Mark Steinberg, Mr. Woods's agent, wasn't immediately returned.

TAG Heuer, the Swiss watchmaker owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, ended its endorsement agreement with Mr. Woods when their contract expired in July.

In the previous 19 months, Mr. Woods lost endorsement deals with companies including AT&T, Accenture and PepsiCo's Gatorade brand. The 14-time major champion has maintained commercial contracts with Electronic Arts, Nike , Upper Deck, Berkshire Hathaway's NetJets and TLC Vision Corp. He began promoting a muscle-relief heat rub made by Japan-based Kowa Co. in June.

Mr. Woods, 35, this week dropped out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time since October 1996. He hasn't won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters, a week before he crashed his car near his home in Florida. He was alone in the vehicle and had no major injuries.

Hampered by Achilles tendon and knee injuries, Mr. Woods failed to qualify for the U.S. PGA Tour's playoffs this season.

For his career, Mr. Woods has 71 PGA Tour wins, third all-time behind Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73). This week he's playing in the Frys.com Open.

"Rolex is convinced that Tiger Woods still has a long career ahead of him and that he has all the qualities required to continue to mark the history of golf," said the company, which has also had relationships with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Other Rolex endorsers include fellow golfers Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Lorena Ochoa, and tennis professionals Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki.

--Bloomberg News

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