US golf star Tiger Woods has appeared in his first new TV commercial since his epic fall from grace in 2009 over a sex scandal.
The 35-year-old former world number one appeared in a 15-second commercial for a Japanese heat-rub which debuted on Japanese television on Friday.
A spokesman for Kowa Co. which makes the Vantelin Kowa rub, Katsuhiro Kaji, said the firm made the offer to Woods late last year. He refused to reveal details of the deal. "We don't think there is any," he told AFP when asked if there was any risk in using the disgraced superstar, who is currently sidelined by injury.
It is Woods' second endorsement contract with a Japanese firm. He signed a three-year deal with Asahi Soft Drinks in 1997 at an estimated 900 million yen (now $11 million) to promote a canned coffee brand.
After the scandal surfaced, Woods has been divorced from his wife and lost many of his sponsorship and endorsement deals. The Japan unit of IMG, the agency which helped Woods become the world's first billion-dollar athlete in terms of endorsements, said it was his first new commercial contract since the scandal.
Woods, currently ranked 17th in the world, injured his left knee and Achilles tendon in the third round of the Masters in April, played only nine holes at May's Players Championship and has only hit golf balls with a putter since then.