Time is officially on Tiger Woods’ side now . . . Well, the time as kept by Rolex, the Swiss watchmaker.
Rolex announced a major new endorsement deal with Woods on Wednesday, the first new U.S.-market endorsement contract for Woods since he crashed into a neighbor’s yard two years ago, igniting a scandal over news of Woods’ marital infidelities.
The watchmaker Tag Heuer dropped Woods two months ago, becoming the fifth company to end an endorsement relationship with Woods in the wake of the scandal. Accenture, AT&T, Gillette and Gatorade also ended deals.
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said more deals will follow.
“This makes a big statement,” Steinberg said at CordeValle, where he was watching Woods tee off in the Frys.com pro-am. “I think this shows me where people are with Tiger Woods.”
Steinberg said a deal for a sponsorship on Woods' golf bag would likely be announced within six weeks. The Woods camp has been in negotiations with Fry's Electronics, sponsor of this week's event, for most of 2011. Woods has had his foundation logo on the bag since AT&T dropped him a month after the sex scandal broke in November 2009.
Steinberg said the Rolex logo would not be visible as Woods plays golf. He said Woods had a watch in his golf bag during the pro-am.
Rolex said the deal “pays tribute to the exceptional stature of Tiger Woods and the leading role he plays in forging the sport's global appeal. It also constitutes a joint commitment to the future.
“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. The brand is committed to accompanying him in his new challenges.”
Terms of the new deal have not been disclosed, although it is believed to be longer than five years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.