Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The golfing legend is among the pros who use Georgia-made balls.

Golfing legend Tiger Woods has returned to Great Britain this week to play in his first Open Championship since 2015.

Tiger Woods golfs with the Bridgestone TOUR B XS ball.

Along with the “American Invasion” of Professional Golf Association (PGA) competitors, Woods will be bringing along something else as American as the Green Jacket of The Masters tournament – a supply of American-made golf balls.

Woods will play with the Bridgestone TOUR B XS model golf ball, manufactured in Covington, Ga., when he tees off on Thursday at the Carnoustie Golf Links on the North Sea Coast of Angus, Scotland.

While Woods has long been known for his association with Nike, the company stopped making golf equipment in 2015 to concentrate on its clothing line (which Woods still wears). That left the golfer as a champion without his most important piece of equipment.

Woods tested most of the top-quality balls in professional competition before settling on the Bridgestone brand.

“Finding the right golf ball is extremely important,” Woods said at the time. “It’s an essential part of my equipment.”

Bridgestone started making golf balls in 1935. As the world’s largest tire manufacturer, it has more than 900 rubber polymer science engineers worldwide to produce high-performing products.

While Bridgestone Golf has manufactured several models of golf balls for many years in the United States, in 2014 the company relocated the manufacturing of all its premium balls from Japan to its North American headquarters in Covington. It’s top 13 performing golf balls, under the brand names Bridgestone and Precept, are all American-made.

To celebrate the move to American manufacturing in 2014, Bridgestone Golf even released a special “Made in the USA” limited edition e6 premium ball.

“Bridgestone is excited that all of our premium balls are now manufactured right here in the United States, particularly at a time when many traditionally American golf brands have chosen to move their operations offshore,” said Dan Murphy, who was named President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf USA last month. “Like so many golf consumers, we truly value U.S. manufacturing and domestic job creation and each of these balls that are put into play will have been proudly produced right here in America.”

Other professional golfers using Bridgestone golf balls include FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, Masters winner Fred Couples, PGA tour winners Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau, and LPGA stars Lexi Thompson and Cheyenne Woods.

Tiger Woods, one of the most marketable athletes ever, eventually signed a multi-year deal with Bridgestone Golf to exclusively play and promote its golf ball line.

In April, Bridgestone launched its TOUR B XS Tiger Woods Edition Golf Balls that feature a custom “TIGER” logo. A portion of the sales benefit Woods charitable TGR Foundation. The Tiger Woods Edition ball is identical to the model Woods currently uses on tour.

“We worked closely with the Bridgestone team to come up with a concept that benefits both golfers and my TGR Foundation, which is very important to me,” Woods said in March. “The TOUR B XS easily outperforms any ball I’ve ever played. It is incredibly long, but offers excellent feel and spin around the green, which makes me confident in any situation.”

After four back operations and time spent away from the game, Woods is beginning to look a bit like the golfer who has won 79 PGA tour events and held the No. 1 ranking in the world for 683 weeks.

If Tiger Woods is in contention to capture his 15th major tournament, he will no doubt be walking up to the 18th green dressed in his familiar Sunday trademark red and black Nike apparel.

But it will be more satisfying if he sinks the tournament winning putt with a golf ball Made in America.