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Category: Oban

May 04, 2009

Tiger Woods Sticking With Old Shaft

Posted at 3:28 PM by David Dusek

Today was media day at Bethpage State Park, home of the Black Course, where the U.S. Open will be played June 18-21. My clubs were in my car, and I was itching for a chance to challenge a course that's so tough that it comes with a warning sign. Instead, we got rained out.

The day was not a total loss, however. After various USGA and government officials spoke, Tiger Woods took questions via conference call. I asked about his driver testing:

You've been experimenting with some different driver shafts. Can you explain where you are in the process of trying to find the right mix for your driver and how important that's going to be as you start your preparation coming here to Bethpage?

"I think I'm going to stick with the same shaft, my old shaft [Mitsubishi Diamana White Board]. The other shaft [an Oban Mach 4 prototype] did not quite work out for me. Wasn't what I was looking for. Felt good in the practice round, but in the tournament, I didn't quite have the same feel for it, so went back to my old driver on the weekend. Hit the ball nice; I wouldn't say great, but I hit it a little bit better. But still, this driver has done pretty well, and that's the one I'll continue working with and hopefully get my swing organized."

As I wrote earlier on Twitter, it sounds like Tiger's shaft experimentation may be over for now. Still, I'll be sure to report on what he's swinging this week at TPC Sawgrass.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

May 02, 2009

Woods Back with Mitsubishi White Board Driver Shaft

Posted at 2:40 PM by David Dusek

Tiger-Woods-Quail-Sat_600 Before Saturday's third round of the Quail Hallow Championship, Tiger Woods reverted back to playing with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board driver shaft in his driver.

On Wednesday during his practice round, Woods used an Aldila Voodoo XPP8 shaft in his Nike Dymo 380 driver. On Thursday, The Shop Blog broke the news that Woods was using a prototype Oban Mach 4 shaft.

While Tiger had averaged 316 yards per drive, he sprayed tee shots both left and right. In fact, the world's No. 1 player hit just 30% of the fairways on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, Woods hit 64% of the fairways while averaging 304 yards per drive.

It's important to remember that driving accuracy stats don't take into account what club a player choses to hit off the tee on par 4s and par 5s. On the same course, under different playing conditions, Woods and other golfers may hit different clubs off the tee, making round-to-round comparisons challenging.

UPDATE: Tiger Woods has the Mitsubishi Diamana White Board driver shaft in his driver again on Sunday.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

April 30, 2009

Tiger Woods Testing New Driver Shafts

Posted at 11:49 AM by David Dusek

Tiger-Woods-Oban-Driver Tiger Woods had been using an 83-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft in his drivers for several seasons. But on Thursday morning his Nike SQ Dymo 380 driver was outfitted with an 85-gram Oban Mach 4 prototype shaft.

On Wednesday, during his practice round with Payton Manning at the Quail Hallow Championship in Charlotte, the world's No. 1 player had an 89-gram Aldila Voodoo XPP8 prototype shaft.

According to Rick Nichols, Nike's Tour Field Manager, Woods recently tested eight new shafts at his home in Windermere, Fla., as part of an annual equipment review process with Nike.

"Tiger had been off for nine months," Nichols said. "So there were several shafts out there that he had not had an opportunity to test. We said to him, 'Let's test them and confirm that what you're playing, or if there is something better for you, let's look and see.'"

Using Nike's STR8-Fit system and a TrackMan launch monitor to expedite the process and confirm what Tiger felt in his hands, Woods narrowed the field down to three potential successors — the Oban, the Aldila, and a 76-gram prototype True Temper Project X graphite shaft.

The Nike STR8-Fit system allows golfers to unscrew the head from the driver's shaft, then re-attach it in one of eight different positions to change the loft and lie angle of the club. According to Nichols, Tiger's specs were not changed during the testing. His driver has 8.5° of loft and with a face that is 1.5° open. He also tested all the drivers with the same ball, his Nike One Tour.

The 13-gram weight difference between Tiger's heaviest and lightest test shafts translates to distance. "Tiger probably has another 20 yards in him if we gave him a harder golf ball and a longer, lighter shaft," Nichols said. However, that added distance could sacrifice short-game and iron control, so Tiger, like every other golfer, has to weigh his options and priorities.

Stay in the know by following David Dusek on Twitter.

(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

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