Report: Woods returning with new sponsor, ball

There will be some noticeable changes to Tiger Woods’ golf bag when he makes his return next week at the Hero World Challenge.

The first will be on the outside of his bag, as Woods will be sporting a new sponsor logo when he makes his first competitive start in more than 15 months. According to an ESPN report, Woods has signed a deal with Monster Energy and the soft-drink company will occupy the logo space on Woods’ bag most recently held by MusclePharm.

More questions surround Woods’ equipment, as he is on the verge of his first start since his longtime sponsor, Nike, announced it was exiting the golf equipment business. Woods is essentially a free agent now when it comes to equipment, but he will continue to use Nike irons according to ESPN.

Woods does plan to make a change to his ball, as the report indicates he will switch to a Bridgestone golf ball for next week’s event. Woods made his pro debut with a Titleist ball but had been using a Nike ball since early 2000.

Woods, whose most recent comeback attempt was abruptly halted when he withdrew from last month’s Safeway Open, appears on track to headline the 18-man field in the Bahamas as USA Today noted that Woods was on the Albany range for more than two hours Sunday:

The Hero World Challenge begins Thursday, and the 72-hole tournament will be broadcast live on Golf Channel.