Tiger Woods, whose skill as a pitchman made him the first $1 billion athlete before his infamous sex scandal, has signed his first major endorsement deal since his 2009 fall from grace.
Woods announced a sponsorship contract Wednesday with Swiss-based Rolex, a deal coming two months after the 14-time major golf champion was dropped by rival watchmaker Tag Heuer.
After his secret sex life was disclosed in revelations that led to his divorce from Elin Nordegren last year, Woods was dropped by several major sponsors, multiple mistresses making him poison to the Madison Avenue sales staffs that once hailed him.
Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Gillette as well as Tag Heuer had dropped endorsement deals with Woods in the wake of the scandal.
Earlier this year, Woods signed his first endorsement contract since the scandal with Japan's Kowa Company Limited to endorse a heat rub in Japanese markets.
But Rolex marks a return of big names in sport sponsorships to Woods, who is chasing the all-time record of 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus. "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," a Rolex statement said.
The news came as Woods played a practice round ahead of the US PGA Frys.com Open. Woods had been in talks with the event's electronics firm sponsor about a deal earlier this year. Woods has not had a sponsor on his golf bag since AT&T dropped him nearly two years ago but he might have a new sponsor on the bag in time for next month's Presidents Cup in Australia.
Since the scandal, Woods is yet to win any titles and also fell out of the top 50 in the world rankings the first time in 15 years this week when he slipped to 51st. Injuries too had kept him away from much of the last season.