Rory & Tiger in China/ Wu/ Getty Images
Tiger Woods certainly knows about equipment change, he himself switched from Titleist to Nike in 2000, starting with the Nike Golf Ball, and two years later also switched to Nike Clubs, so he is perfectly placed to advise Rory on the subject. Tiger knows it is a big deal, something that other golfers have not accomplished too well, most recently Rickie Fowler who had been using Titleist driver and irons switched to Cobra, and as yet has not fared too well. At the time of the switch Rickie said;
“Obviously they tried to put together something that was as close to the specs as before,” he said. “The shaft, weight, the swing weight, everything like that. It just took a few drivers to get the right setup with the loft and everything, and I’ve actually been hitting it really well, so hopefully this week I’ll be able to pump a few out there. I think they did a very good job preparing themselves and getting everything ready for testing. They did a very good job with the irons getting them similar and comparable to the ones I was playing before [Titleist 712 MB] so there really wasn’t a big transition there. They felt the same, flew the same, so it was basically like putting a new set of what I already had in the bag.”
Rickie and his Cobra equipment.
At the moment the clubs are not swinging quite the same for Rickie, and it appears it is that sort of conundrum that might affect Rory, this is what Tiger said;
” Any time you make a change in equipment, it’s certainly a big deal, going through the testing process, trying to get the right shaft, and the club head, plus the ball, it’s a challenge. Sometimes it’s taken almost a year, sometimes it’s taken just a few weeks. Is this equipment in general, going to help me win golf tournaments? If the answer is yes, then it’s in the bag. If the answer is no, then it’s not. But when you get it right, it’s pretty good. It’s a huge process to get to that point, it was very time-consuming. It’s tiring quite frankly because it can take a long time, but it’s worth it in the end if you get it right.”
Michael Bannon, Rory’s swing coach has no doubts about the switch, he said;
“He’ll have no problems at all with new equipment. f you look at the clubs he is going to change to, all the shafts are the same. He is also going from blade to blade, which is quite an easy thing to do. The ball is fine, he just has to practice a wee bit more with it and get used to the feel of it. He has to play a few rounds of golf as well, which he hasn’t been able to do with new equipment yet. People overstate what the change could mean. It is something to talk about but I think this will be an easy transition for him. I don’t see it being a problem at all.”
The wonderfully attired late Payne Stewart suffered a season-long slump in 1994 after leaving Wilson for a lucrative deal with Spalding. I know of many friends who have switched clubs recently and some of them have fallen back, citing that the new clubs do not play quite the same as the old ones, but they are certain things will get better. Lets hope for Rory’s sake the transition is as smooth as silk.
Payne Stewart in some of his colorful outfits, he could play well too.