So, all that practice paid off and you've earned a spot in the field at the British Open. Sweet! Now what are you going to wear? Well, if you're a Nike-sponsored athlete you don't have to worry about how to match your shirt with your pants and shoes because the company happily puts everything together for you. Here what some Swoosh-wearing stars will be wearing (under their raingear) at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
Category: Lucas Glover
SAN FRANCISCO – Every week on the PGA Tour, manufacturers stuff the pros' lockers with things they'll need on the course. Balls, gloves, maybe a new umbrella or a hat. But at the majors, things get kicked up a few notches.
Nike presented its staff players at the U.S. Open with a special tote bag that contained a hoodie and a new pair of Nike Free running shoes.
Each golfer's hoodie was personalized with his name on the back of the left shoulder. Three stars were added to Tiger Woods's hoodie to acknowledge his three U.S. Open wins; Lucas Glover had one star.
Woods and Glover also had their names stitched into the tongue of their shoes.
Photos: See pros' bags at Olympic
(Photo by David Dusek)
DRIVER: Nike SQ Sumo2 (9.5°) with an Matrix F7 M2 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Nike SQ II (13°) with Grafallow Epic shaft
IRONS: Nike VR Pro Combo (2-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
WEDGES: Nike VR (54°), VR Pro (59°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
PUTTER: Nike Method 003
BALL: Nike ONE Tour D
(Photo by Mike Egerton/Landov Images)
DRIVER: Nike SQ Sumo2 (9.5°) with a Mitrix OZIK XCON F7M2 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike SQ II (13°, 19°) with Grafallow Epic shafts
IRONS: Nike VR Pro Combo (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
WEDGES: Nike VR (54°), VR Pro (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
PUTTER: Nike Method 003
BALL: Nike ONE Tour D
(Photo by Darren Carroll/SI)
Paul Casey fell in love with a prototype of Nike's Method 001 putter after trying it at the company's test center in Ft. Worth, Texas. After convincing company brass to allow him use the club in competition, Casey dropped it into his bag at the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
It's never left.
In 2009, both Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover won major championships using a Method prototype, and last year Tiger Woods started sporadically using one too.
But for a lot of golfers, the $250 price tag attached the Method putters was simply too much to fork over. Nike aims to change that with the release of the Method Core line of putters, which have a $129 sticker.
Like the original Method putters, the Method Core line features a unique polymer-groove technology that Nike says gets the ball rolling on the greens faster. However, while the grooves are cut into the face of the Method putters, Nike designers set the grooves of the Method Core putters in an insert.
Essentially, the technology is the same: the grooves are partially filled with a polymer for soft feel, but the unfilled lower portion of the grooves grab the ball and get it rolling.
Nike says the original Method putter starts the ball rolling a touch faster, but not by much. The company also says that the Method Core putter should give a softer feel than the original Method because the grooves are housed in the insert.
Method Core putters will be available in three blade models and two mallets, and all will come with a Black Nickel finish that reduces glare. None of the designs are shockingly unique, and in fact, all five will look familiar to many golfers.
Look for the new Method Core putters to start arriving in pro shops by early March.
YouTube is loaded with lots of golf equipment videos. I've decided to start dropping interesting clips into The Shop blog starting, well ... today. No commericals allowed, but since each of the YouTube videos will be produced by the manufacturers themselves, you can expect a fair amount of chest thumping.
First up, Ping staff pro Lee Westwood gives you some basics on finding the ideal putter.
According to Nike, Lucas Glover recently put a 64° Victory Red V-Rev wedge in his bag. Nike has not sent out a media release on the club, but because it is a new design it will be made with the USGA's new conforming grooves.
In this video provided by Nike Golf, Stewart Cink, Paul Casey, Michelle Wie and other staff pros talk about the Nike ONE ball.
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Lucas Glover used a new Nike 15-degree Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour fairway wood at the season-opening SBS Championship last week in Hawaii (right). Nike has just announced that those clubs will be available to everyone starting Jan. 28.
Like the Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour driver, the steel-faced fairway woods allow golfers to pre-set the face of the club into one of 32 different positions to help create the desired ball flight.
The sole of the Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour fairway woods also features a red channel running behind the leading edge of the club. In the Victory Red driver, this channel goes all the way across the club, but in the fairway woods it is only runs along the heel and toe.
In a media release, Tom Stites, Nike Golf's director of club creation, said, "Our athletes prefer a smooth sole design for optimized playability on tight fairway lies. In order to achieve that, we split the compression channel on the sole to provide improved performance from every lie."
Another technology imported from Nike's drivers to these fairway woods is the Powerbow, which is essentially a weighted area running along the back section of the club that lowers the center of gravity and helps golfers get the ball into the air more easily.
The Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour fairway woods will be available in four lofts (13°, 15°, 17°, 19°) and come standard with Aldila Voodoo shafts for $299.
Martin Laird, Nathan Green, Retief Goosen and SBS Championship runner-up Rory Sabbatini are all playing TaylorMade's new TP wedges with XFT, which have interchangeable face plates that allow golfers to replace old and worn grooves without having to switch clubs.
2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang (top) asked TaylorMade to build him a new 3-wood that produced a lower ball flight and would keep his shots below the winds swirling in Hawaii. Yang used a 13° TaylorMade Burner TP at Kapalua.
All four Nike staff players who competed last week at Kapalua—Stewart Cink, Paul Casey (right), Stephen Ames and Lucas Glover—used one of the company's Method putters. The Method line of putters should begin arriving in pro shops around Feb. 1.
Casey and Cink both used Nike's new Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour drivers, but stuck with their trusty SQ II fairway woods.
I was well documented that SBS Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy is now a Titleist staff player, having switched from another Acushnet brand, Cobra. Bo Van Pelt also competed at Kapalua as a Titleist player for the first time. Van Pelt used:
DRIVER: Titleist 909 D2 (8.5°) with a Mitsubishi Fubuki 73 X shaft
FAIRWAY: Titleist 909 F3 (15°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 73 X shaft
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (17°) with a UST Mamiya Proforce V2 104 shaft
IRONS: Titleist Forged MB (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold SL shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C (51°, 56°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold SL shafts
(Photos: Yang/Eric Risberg/AP; Casey/Robert Beck/SI)
Despite all the talk about what the new groove rules are going to mean for PGA Tour players, 2009 U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover doesn't seem concerned.
"My irons changed, but it was nothing drastic," he said in a press conference Wednesday, a day before shooting 66 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua to take the first round lead at the SBS Championship.
"I didn't go from a blade to a cavity back or vice versa or whatever. I just tried Nike's new irons with the conforming grooves. The wedges look exactly the same, the paint is just different and the grooves are different. Same ball, same driver."
Glover noted in the press conference that he has switched fairway woods, but because those clubs have a loft of less than 25°, the new groove rules do not apply. He played Thursday with Nike's yet-to-be-released Victory Red Tour STR8-Fit fairway woods (photo).
For the last few seasons, Glover had been playing Nike's CCi Forged irons, but the grooves in those clubs became non-conforming on Jan. 1 as the new rules went into effect. Glover is now playing Nike's Victory Red Forged Half-Cavity irons.
Glover said the wide, sweeping fairways of the Plantation Course might not be giving players and fans a true appreciation of the new rules' impact.
"I think we will see a bigger difference on tighter courses where it's harder to put the ball in the fairway and there is three- or four-inch Bermuda or ryegrass or bluegrass," he said.
But rough was not a problem for Glover on Thursday as he hit 93% of the fairways and 89% of the greens in regulation. Glover carded two eagles and went nine under par on holes five through 13.
Glover noted repeatedly that from the fairway he's noticed little difference in the performance of his irons, but from the rough, the new grooves simply don't spin the ball as much. That makes it tougher for player to judge how the ball will react.
"We used to talk about water balls or dew on your clubface from the ball or whatever," he said "You'll see that a little bit in the mornings, but if you hit it in the fairway, it will not be that big of a deal."
(Photo by Stan Badz/Getty Images)
CHASKA, Minn. – A year after Paul Casey convinced Nike officials to let him use a new prototype putter at the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the company officially announced the arrival of the Method putter line Tuesday evening.
There are five putters in the line and each will retail for about $250. A limited number will be available later in 2009. The putters will be made widely available on Feb. 1 of next year. The photos here show the Method 1, an Anser-style, heel-toe weighted blade with a plumber's neck and site dot. There are two other blade-style putters in the line, as well as two heel-shafted mallets.
All of the five Method putters come standard with 2° of loft and will be available in 33-, 34-, and 35-inch lengths. None of the five head shapes are groundbreaking, but each employs a technology that has drawn a lot of attention.
The grooves in the face of the Method putters are what Nike calls Polymer Groove Technology. A channel is cut in the sole of the club and behind the face. A soft polymer material is then forced into the channel and allowed to seep out of slots cut into the putter's face (right). A portion of the polymer is then cut out, leaving a tiny gap between the soft material and the sharp stainless steel grooves.
"As the putter is coming up and through the ball, these tiny little knife edges of steel will actually dig into the ball, and the polymer will dampen the feel," said Tom Stites, Nike's director of product innovation.
On the green, a golf ball rests in a small depression created by its weight. Putters need loft to get the ball out of the depression, but the loft also imparts backspin, which causes the ball to tumble when it first lands rather than rolling smoothly. Nike says these polymer grooves help get the ball out of its depression without imparting backspin.
"By taking the backspin off, the ball can just start to roll," Stites said. "A putt that rolls more quickly and more true to the hole is more efficient, goes a little bit farther and stays on line much better."
Using high-speed video footage, Nike officials showed that, using his old putter, Justin Leonard's putts skidded 3.6 inches before they started to roll. Using a prototype Method putter, that distance was reduced to .3 inches.
Stites also pointed out that by creating the channel and removing some steel from the face, 30 grams of weight could be redistributed to improve performance. That mass was repositioned in the form of tungsten weights (right) placed in the heel and toe areas to lower the center of gravity and add stability at impact.
(Photos by David Dusek)
AKRON, Ohio — The winners of the 2009 U.S. Open and British Open have a lot in common when it comes to equipment. Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink both use a Nike SQ Sumo² Tour driver, as well as the same Nike prototype putter and Nike CCi Forged irons.
But Glover told me Tuesday on the driving range at Firestone Country Club that the grooves in those irons will become non-conforming once the new rules go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
"I just don't understand it," he said, looking frustrated. "We've been progressive for a hundred years, and now we're backing up 20. I'm a little confused by it, but it's not my decision."
Both Glover and Cink—like most players on the PGA Tour—have started the testing process to learn how the new conforming grooves will affect their games.
During the week of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May, both Glover and Cink made trips to The Oven, Nike's club testing and development facility in Ft. Worth, Texas.
"There's not much difference when hitting shots from the fairway," Cink told me on Tuesday. "But you definitely lose a lot of spin from the rough."
After he completed the testing in May, Cink wrote on Twitter, "New grooves next year mean 10% less spin from the fairway and 60-70% less spin from the rough with short irons. Players will use a softer ball I believe."
So much for a quiet, restful off-season for these major champions.
(Photo by Stewart Franklin/Getty Images)