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Tiger Woods signs deal to promote Bridgestone golf balls

Tiger Woods and Bridgestone formalized a relationship Thursday, as the brand announced it has signed the former world No. 1 to a multi-year deal to promote its golf balls.

Woods, who turns 41 at the end of the month, will be featured in all advertising for the brand, including print and television ads. He'll also be on packaging and point-of-purchase displays.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Finding the right golf ball is extremely important," Woods said in a statement. "It's an essential part of my equipment."

Woods has been evaluating new deals by having products sent to him, but he hasn't interacted much with the brands.

That's exactly what happened with Bridgestone.

"We supplied him with product, but we had no communication with him and didn't have any way to help influence his decision," said Corey Consuegra, director of marketing for Bridgestone Golf.

In the end, Woods picked the Bridgestone Tour B-330s ball and put it in play at the Hero World Challenge a few weeks ago in the Bahamas.

"Tiger did a lot of testing, but this is the one that came out to his liking," said his agent, Mark Steinberg. "It was always about finding out what was best for him and what he liked best before putting together the structure of a deal.''

The Bridgestone ball is the third brand that Tiger has used since turning pro in 1996. He used Titleist balls in the beginning of his career until 2000, when he switched to Nike. Woods will continue to be a Nike ambassador, as he has been for the past 20 years, but the company decided in the fall not to manufacture golf equipment anymore.

While the golf ball market is flat like the rest of the golf industry, Consuegra said Tiger's decision helps validate the credibility of the brand, whose most notable spokespeople include Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Fred Couples.

Bridgestone is the third-most popular golf ball in the business behind Titleist and Callaway, according to industry tracking firm Golf DataTech.

"While the pie might not be growing, we think we can take pieces of the pie from others, and Tiger joining us is key to that plan," Consuegra said.

There is one new potential challenger in the game. In the past couple of months, Costco started selling golf balls for $30 for two dozen ($1.25 a ball). The company's website shows that the balls have sold out and are getting restocked later in the month.

The Tour B-S330 sells for $45 a dozen ($3.75 a ball), which is in line with other higher-end balls.

As for the other clubs, Steinberg said Tiger was still testing and no decisions had been made. At the Hero World Challenge, Woods used TaylorMade woods (driver, 3-wood, 5-wood) and a set of Nike irons he had played with in the past.

There was initial buzz that Woods could be an endorser for Bob Parsons' PXG brand, but that thought took a hit when Parsons told Golf Digest he thought Woods' game wasn't what it once was.

"We never discussed a deal with Tiger, but I assume after that comment, our odds got slimmer," Parsons told ESPN.com.