Pro athletes are paid millions of dollars in brand endorsement deals for a very good reason. When we average Joes and amateur players see a popular top athlete using a particular brand, we automatically ascribe some of the player’s success to the equipment. This may be something of a logical fallacy — we’re pretty sure Michael Jordan would have dominated the 90s basketball field even without his Nikes. Still, there is an element of truth to this way of thinking.
When a top golfer, for instance, uses a particular brand of ball, you can see for yourself how that kind of ball is capable of performing at the pinnacle of possibility. We think: if it’s good enough for the best, it’s good enough for me!
That’s why, following this line of thinking, it was big news last month that Tiger Woods signed a new multi-year endorsement contract with Bridgestone golf balls. The news comes on the heels of Nike (Woods’ erstwhile endorsement brand) announcing that it will cease to manufacture golf balls and will instead focus on apparel.
Making the switch from Nike to Bridgestone
Woods, who has spent an accumulative 545 weeks as the world’s number one golfer, has been playing Nike brand balls in practice and tournaments for the last 15 years. So it must have been a challenge to make the change — especially for a player who has been quoted saying, “the golf ball is the most important ‘club’ in the bag.”
However, prior to the official contract news being released, Woods was spotted testing Bridgestone balls on the range, as well as playing them in November’s Hero World Challenge. He is also said to have spent months testing Bridgestone’s product in private before agreeing to the exclusive play endorsement.
Woods’ weapon of choice for the pro tour
After years of playing Nike’s multi-layer balls, it may not be such a big surprise that Woods has chosen Bridgestone’s B330-S tour ball as his weapon of choice. With a hydro core that’s optimized for very high swing speeds, this ball has a “patented soft 330 Dual Dimple Urethane cover,” as well as a four-part construction. It’s not so far off from his previous favorite model.
While not a particularly forgiving ball (i.e., not the ideal choice for beginners), the Bridgestone B330-S boasts a reduced spin, consistent flight and “longer distances” off the tee — perfect for a pro tour.
Bridgestone for the rest of us
This exact pro-level tour ball may be designed for swing speeds faster than the average amateur’s — their pro balls are designed for 105-mile-per-hour swings and up. But Bridgestone’s B330 line includes two similar amateur balls that are built for swing speeds that are more realistic for us mere mortals (under 105 miles-per-hour).
The B330RX and B330RXS balls are designed with the same hydro core technology and soft multilayer urethane, but are lacking the four-piece construction. Bridgestone markets the B330RX as an “added distance” ball and the B330RXS as a good choice for added control and feel.
Where to get your own Bridgestone balls
While mirroring Woods’ equipment choices is unlikely to get you the same results as the 14-time major winner, you can certainly trust that his choice to endorse and exclusively play Bridgestone balls is a solid recommendation for their quality. Other pro members of the official Bridgestone tour team include Fred Couples, Nick Price, Bryston Dechambeau, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Matt Kuchar and Karrie Web.
— C. Pedroja
(Feature Photo Courtesy: Pro tour golfer Tiger Woods during gameplay. Christian Petersen/Getty Images)