Tiger Woods makes equipment adjustments at Memorial
On Thursday at Memorial, Tiger Woods shot a three-under 69 after making two subtle equipment changes.
In his post-round interview, the world's No. 1 player said, "I went with a little more loft, a 10°." Woods had previously used a 9.5° Nike Dymo 380 driver.
"As my release has changed over time with Hank [Haney], I needed a little more loft to get the ball in the air, little more spin."
Woods said that he is hitting the ball just as far with the 10° driver. And while .5° is not a big change in loft, for at least one day, Woods was clearly more accurate off the tee. He hit 13 of 14 fairways at Muirfield Village on Thursday.
"I don't have all my length back," Woods said. "It's getting better each and every week. My speed is coming back. My power's coming back. It's taken a lot longer than I thought it would, but then again, most people that play other sports take two years to come back. So it's a little bit different."
Woods also used different irons on Thursday. He did not use the Nike Victory Red Forged Blade irons he had used in each of his previous 2009 appearances. Instead, he used a set of Nike Forged Blades that in photographs appear to be identical to the irons Woods used in 2008. Click on the photo of Woods taken Thursday for a better look. The insert image was taken during final round of the Players.
Nike's tour field manager, Rick Nichols, said in an e-mail, "This is not the exact set of irons Tiger played last year, but they are similar."
According to a video featuring Tom Stites, Nike's director of product creation, nearly every aspect of the Victory Red Forged Blades were inspired by Tiger Woods and what he looks for in an iron. It is very possible that the only differences between the Victory Red Forged Blades and the older set Nike blades Tiger used Thursday are cosmetic.
However, just two weeks before the U.S. Open at Bethpage, the fact that Woods has chosen to put an old set of irons back in his bag could signal that he is looking for a subtle difference in feel or look.
(Main photo, Fred Vuich/SI; inset, Scott Halleran/Getty Images)