Tiger Doing Time With Rolex
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Tag Who?

Apparently Rolex thinks Tiger Woods is starting to tick again.

On the eve of his “comeback” at the Frys.com Open, Tiger announced his first endorsement deal in the post-hydrant era — unless you count that Japanese heat rub commercial. He’ll serve as one of the watch company’s world ambassadors after being dropped by former sponsor TAG Heuer two months ago, according to the AP:

“This makes a big statement,” (Tiger’s agent Mark) Steinberg said at CordeValle, where he was watching Woods tee off in the pro-am. “I think this shows me where people are with Tiger Woods.”

Woods has lost endorsement deals with AT&T, Accenture, Tag Heuer, Gatorade and Gillette since his downfall.

Steinberg said Rolex would be the first of a “couple of announcements” related to endorsements, including a deal for Woods’ golf bag. He has had his foundation logo on the bag since AT&T dropped him a month after Woods’ sex scandal unfolded in November 2009.

He said a bag deal was likely to be announced as early as six weeks. Woods has been in negotiations with Fry’s Electronics, sponsor of this week’s tournament, although those discussions have been going on for most of the year.

This is a return to Rolex of sorts for Woods. He had an endorsement deal with Tudor, a Rolex brand, when he first turned pro.

Here’s the announcement posted on TigerWoods.com:

In keeping with its passion for excellence and its long-standing commitment to the world of golf, Rolex is proud to announce its partnership with American golfer Tiger Woods.

This association 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.

Tiger Woods is joining the family of Rolex ambassadors, who are chosen for their talent, their perseverance and their ability to communicate their passion for their sport. They include emerging young champions as well as established top male and female golfers.

The association between Rolex and golf stretches back to the 1960s with the brand’s support for the “Big Three” — Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Since then, the relationship has constantly been enriched. Today, it translates into partnerships not only with players but also with the leading and most prestigious actors in the world of golf, the governing bodies or the major professional tours and tournaments.

I’d take Rolex over TAG any day, but anyone else a little shocked with this new deal? I wonder what the terms were…I mean, good for Tiger and Steiney! Hey, maybe it’s the start of post-hydrant, post-342nd-injury era.