- Tiger Woods signs new endorsement deal with Swiss watch-maker Rolex
- American had been dropped by big-name sponsors after scandal broke
- This week he was named Forbes' most valuable athlete despite form slump
- Woods will play PGA Tour fall season event in California, starting Thursday
He may not have won a tournament in almost two years, but Tiger Woods can still be a major force in golf according to his new high-profile sponsor.
Woods lost some major backers in the wake of the scandal about his marital infidelities, including Tag Heuer. But another high-end watch-maker, Rolex, has taken on the fallen former world No. 1.
"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," read a statement on Wednesday from the Swiss company, which also sponsors CNN's Living Golf Show.
"This association pays tribute to the exceptional nature of Tiger Woods and the leading role he plays in forging the sport's global appeal."
Rolex has a history of linking with golfing greats, including 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
It is the second backing for Woods' commercial value in two days, with influential business magazine Forbes keeping the 14-time major winner at the top of its "most valuable athlete" standings with a brand worth of $55 million. It cited his June deal with Japanese medical group Kowa as evidence that he was far from a spent force.
Woods dropped out of the world's top 50 this week ahead of the PGA Tour's fall season Frys.com Open -- a minor tournament that he has never played before.
He has not stepped out for an official event since the PGA Championship in August, but will make his ninth start of an injury-plagued season as he warms up for the Presidents Cup in Australia next month -- having been given a wild-card place by U.S. team captain Fred Couples.
"I'm excited to be back. I've had good practice sessions at home and am eager to get back under the gun," Woods said ahead of the California tournament.
Woods' website said he shot a course-record 10-under-par 62 last Saturday at his new home course in Jupiter, Florida -- the Greg Norman-designed Medalist Club.
He will play the opening rounds at CordeValle Golf Club, near San Jose, with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and U.S. amateur Patrick Cantlay on Thursday and Friday.