The Golf Blog says: It’s been almost ten years since Phil Mickelson took a back-handed jab at Tiger Woods for playing “inferior” equipment, referring to Nike clubs. The Nike technology has no doubt improved, and Tiger seems to have adjusted to his Nike clubs (after switching from Titleist), except for maybe the driver and sometimes the putter.
Well, this week, Rory McIlroy followed in Tiger’s footsteps, cashing in over $100 million to switch to Nike clubs from Titleist. The results were not pretty. Rory shot 6-over par at a course he’s played well in the past and missed the cut. After the first round, Rory switched back to his Scotty Cameron putter, sticking the new Nike putter back in the closet.
A few people have tweeted us and said just give Rory some more time–he’ll adjust. Our question is: if Rory winning with Titleist clubs wasn’t broken, why fix it? Yes, we know $100 million and all, but if winning majors is Priority No. 1, why mess with success, Rory?
As 6-time major champion Nick Faldo said, “I call it dangerous. I’ve changed clubs and changed equipment, and every manufacturer will say, ‘We can copy your clubs, we can tweak the golf ball so it fits you.’ But there’s feel and sound as well, and there’s confidence. You can’t put a real value on that.”
UPDATE: Other than Tiger, the last former World No. 1 who made a switch from Titleist to Nike Clubs was David Duval, back in 2001. The switch to Nike clubs didn’t help Duval’s game. 2001 would be the last time that Duval would ever win a PGA Tour event. If you look at Duval’s stats, his scoring average went up in 2002 and afterwards. Duval probably had other issues going on (including injury and motivation), but the change in clubs probably didn’t make playing well any easier.