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Category: Stewart Cink

July 19, 2009

Stewart Cink's 2009 British Open Winning Clubs

Posted at 4:32 PM by David Dusek

Stewart-Cink-Sun-Brit Stewart Cink, winner of the 2009 British Open, has been using Nike's CCi Forged irons for several seasons. When I spoke to him earlier this season and asked if he was planning to switch to a newer model, Cink explained that finding time to make changes can be challenging.

"After I won in Hartford [June, 2008], I didn't want to change anything up," he said. Then, after the FedEx Cup playoffs in September, when the Nike Victory Red irons were released, Cink was busy testing new golf balls with Nike's Rock Ishii.

"I ended up using a new ball for about five months. I didn't want to use a new ball, and then change irons or my driver, because if you change everything you don't know what's happening," he said. "Or what's giving you the benefit."

Although Cink is now using Nike Victory Red wedges—he used to play the Nike SV wedges—the most significant equipment change he has made this season happened in Texas at the Crowne Plaza Colonial. As reported, having played a Never Compromise Sub 30 M3 belly putter for more than six seasons, Cink switched to a traditional-length Nike prototype putter.

Stewart Cink Putt Close Up Featuring a traditional Anser-style look, and heel-toe weighting, the milled face of the putter has a series of red ribs. The ribs are designed to reduce skidding and help get the ball rolling faster.

Cink's Nike prototype has more cosmetic details than the early Nike prototype putters seen on the PGA Tour (like Paul Casey's). There is a waffle pattern on the heel and toe, similar to the pattern on the back of the Nike Victory Red Half-Cavity irons. There is a sight line on the back flange of Cink's putter, and where Casey's putter has red paint-fill, Cink's is trimmed in black. Finally, on the bottom of Cink's putter there is a reference to The Oven, Nike's club building and testing facility in Ft. Worth, Texas.

I've seen five different versions of Nike's prototype putter with similar cosmetics to Cink's. Although nothing has been officially announced by Nike Golf, with this much detailing—and now two major wins by Cink and Lucas Glover—it would be surprising not to see these putters made available fairly soon. 

Here is a list of the clubs Stewart Cink used to win the 2009 British Open at Turnberry:

DRIVER: Nike SQ Sumo² Tour (9.5°) with UST ProForce AxivCore Tour Red 79 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS:  Nike SQ 2 (15°) with UST ProForce AxivCore Tour Red 79 shaft
IRONS: Nike Pro Combo OS (2, 4), CCi Forged (5-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES:  Victory Red (52˚, 56˚, 60˚)
PUTTER: Nike prototype
BALL:  Nike One Tour D

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(Top photo: Robert Beck/SI; Putter:Jon Super/AP Photos)

May 28, 2009

Stewart Cink switches to traditional-length Nike Prototype putter

Posted at 4:59 PM by David Dusek

Stuart Cink Nike Putter FT. WORTH, Texas -- For several years, Stewart Cink has used on a belly putter and been one of the most consistent putters on the PGA Tour. But this week at Colonial, Cink has switched to a traditional-length Nike prototype putter, which appears to be almost identical to the putter that Paul Casey uses

The shape of Cink's putter is a heel-toe weighted Anser-style blade, and the milled face of Nike's prototype putter features a series of red ribs. A Nike employee said those ribs will help to reduce skidding on the greens and get the ball rolling faster.

Although Cink said Wednesday that he has always practiced with traditional length putters at home, this marks the first time in over four years that he's had one in the bag at a tournament.

"It feels really solid and it rolls the ball really nice," he said. "I've been practicing hard so it feels pretty comfortable now."

At Colonial, I saw Nike prototype putters with five different head shapes that featured the red ribs in the face. Each was heel-shafted; I did not see a high-MOI Nike prototype putter with the red ribs in the face.

It is important to note that prototype golf clubs are built for testing purposes and to allow manufacturers to get feedback from players. Companies want to know which features players like and what changes the pros feel should be made.

Not all prototypes become clubs you can eventually buy. However, the prototype putters at Colonial had a lot more cosmetic detail than the putter Casey put into his bag last August at the Barclays Championship. That might suggest Nike is close to completing the development work and may release some new putters fairly soon.

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May 15, 2009

Stewart Cink puts his spin on groove changes

Posted at 2:55 PM by David Dusek

Stewart Cink Twittering Stewart Cink was recently in Ft. Worth, Texas, experimenting with new equipment at "The Oven," Nike Golf's research and development center.

After taking an overnight flight back to his home in Atlanta Thursday night, Cink partook of his favorite new hobby, Twittering (photo).

He wrote, "New grooves next year mean 10% less spin from fairway and 60-70% less from rough with short irons. Players will use softer balls I believe." Moments later he wrote,  "IMHO [In My Humble Opinion] the new grooves are really an indirect way to attack driving distance since softer balls go shorter in general."

Players have openly wondered how the new groove rules, which will go into effect in January, will affect performance. Several I have talked with—including Geoff Ogilvy and Tremor Immelman—have echoed Cink's thoughts.

Cink's comments are important for a few reasons. First, they show that some players are taking steps now to learn what they will have to do in order to get the most benefit from their equipment after the new rules go into effect. Second, if Cink's estimations are correct, the days of bomb-and-gouge golf may be coming to an end. If players can't control the ball as well coming out of the rough, driving accuracy once again will become a meaningful stat for players at the highest levels of the game.

When I spoke recently with Cink about his equipment, he said, "I'm already on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to optimal spin, so if I fall below the spectrum, I'm going to have to do something in order to get the spin back up. The easiest thing to do is change your ball."

Cink had been playing the Nike One Black ball, but switched this season to the Nike One Tour D ball. He said that he got the spin he was looking for from the new ball, and launch conditions with his driver were good too, but his irons shots flew higher and didn't go as far as they had previously.

He said that this season he wanted to use a ball with more spin, and thus "hit the ground running when the new grooves come out."

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(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

February 25, 2009

Stewart Cink's New Putter and Unique Wedge

Posted at 10:05 AM by David Dusek

StewartcinknikeclubsMARANA, Ariz. – Stewart Cink was the runner-up last year at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He defeated Angel Cabrera, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Justin Leonard before losing, 8 and 7, in the 36-hole final to Tiger Woods.

Twelve months later, Cink is hoping a new club will help him earn the title here.

"I've got a brand-new putter," he told me with a grin. "I've been using that Never Compromise putter for about six years, but now I'm going with a putter from Yes! Golf. I really like their ideas, and the guys who work for them, so I'm experimenting."

The putter Cink is using is a Lizzie, and like his Never Compromise, it's a belly putter. The Yes! Lizzie is a mallet forged from 303 stainless steel that is available in four different hosel styles. Cink has gone with a toe-down balanced model with half a shaft's width of offset. (For a better look, click on the top photo.)

StewartcinknikesandwedgeBut the most interesting club in Cink's bag is his Nike Victory Red 54°sand wedge.

"Because I'm so tall, I am trying to get my clubs a little bit longer," he said. "They're standard length, but I'm trying, and my first little toe in the water is that wedge, which is a little bit longer."

It's just 1/4-inch longer, but that slight difference increases the swing weight of the club, making it feel heavier. To offset that added swing weight, two small holes have been bored into the back of the head. (Click on the bottom photo for a closer look.) Reducing the overall weight of the club cancels the extra swing weight to match Cink preference.

June 23, 2008

Stewart Cink's Winning Bag

Posted at 4:07 PM by David Dusek

Cink_tpcriver_450x600 When a golfer's worst round of the tournament is a three-under par 67, he knows that he'll be in contention to earn a big check on Sunday. Stewart Cink, who posted scores of 66-64-65-67, won the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands last weekend and the $1.08 million first-prize check.

Cink's entire game was hot in Connecticut, as he hit 82% of the fairways, averaged 299 yards off the tee and 27 putts per round.

Here is a look at what the former Georgia Tech All-American had in his bag.

Driver                    Nike SQ Sumo² Tour (8.5°)
Fairway woods     Nike SQ 2 (15°, 19°)
Irons                      Nike Pro Combo OS (3-4), CCi Forged (5-PW)
Wedges                 Nike Pro Combo (54˚, 60˚)
Putter                    Never Compromise Sub 30 M3
Ball                        Nike One Black

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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