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Tiger Woods is more valuable as an endorser than he is as a player, Angel Ilagan, Bridgestone Golf CEO, told CNBC in a recent interview.
In December 2016, Bridgestone Golf signed the golf legend to a multiyear deal to exclusively play with its Bridgestone balls. Yet as a result of ongoing back surgeries, Woods hasn't played a single game since the deal (and was also arrested on DUI charges).
Still, Bridgestone still saw record growth for the first half of the 2017 year.
"Tiger Woods has been very positive for the game. As you know with golf, we've been experiencing declines in the recent years, but with Tiger on board, it's bringing a lot of consumers back to the game and excitement to the game and to Bridgestone," Ilagan said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" last week.
Ilagan insisted that whether Woods plays or not, the golf industry is sure to continue to experience gains.
"He actually has more power as an endorser than he does as a player," the CEO said.
He added that Woods is "the Michael Jordan of golf" and "the single golfer who's had the greatest impact of bringing consumers into [the game]."
Ilagan's suggested that as long as Woods is around (on or off the green), the golf industry is safe.
"I think the industry is in a little bit of panic, although it really need not be," he added.