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Tiger Woods comeback is exciting: TaylorMade CEO

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Talk about buying low and waiting it out for the long-term value creation.

Golf equipment maker TaylorMade signed arguably the sport’s biggest legend, Tiger Woods, to a multi-year endorsement deal in January 2017. Some three months later, Woods underwent a risky spinal fusion operation to relieve years of back pain. Woods’s return to golf was highly uncertain and consequently, his ability to promote TaylorMade’s equipment was also in question.

Fast forward to 2019, and Woods is fresh off a 20th place finish at the Farmer’s Insurance Open. In September, Woods secured his first win in more than five years at the Tour Championship.

Woods is currently ranked No. 12 in the world, up from No. 1,199 back in December 2017 prior to his 2018 comeback campaign.

“It has been exciting,” TaylorMade CEO David Abeles told Yahoo Finance about Woods’s resurgence. “It [Tiger] has a material impact to how your brand is perceived.” Abeles said Woods helps TaylorMade’s research and development team conjure up new products.

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 11th hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance golf tournament Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Adidas sold the TaylorMade brand to private equity firm KPS Capital Partners for $425 million in 2017. KPS Capital Partners has particular expertise working with manufacturing companies, which has helped Adidas focus on product engineering.

“Strategically nothing has changed with the company,” Abeles said about life after the deal. “It’s wonderful to be a private company in this day and time in our space because it enables us to invest in our company for the long-term.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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