NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY GOLF PRIDE, THE #1 GRIP ON TOUR
One of the underappreciated parts of Tiger Woods’ career is his significant influence on equipment.
Perhaps most famously, Woods sped his way through the development process for the Nike Tour Accuracy ball back in 2000. At the time, golf balls had a liquid center and the Titleist Professional 90 was overwhelmingly the most popular choice on tour. Woods instinctively knew a solid-core golf ball was superior, so he was adamant in his push for improvements – even down to the sound of the ball coming off the putter face – so he could have it before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, his third official start with the new Nike ball.
Four consecutive major victories later, golf’s wound-ball era had essentially died.
And what about all the players who have followed his lead on clubs? Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka are among those who won majors with putters similar to Tiger’s immortal Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS. While Tiger was interestingly one of the last players to switch from steel to graphite for his driver shaft – he kept a steel True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft in his driver and won his first eight majors with it – the graphite Mitsubishi Diamana he went to in 2004 helped make that shaft one of the winningest and most played in the pro game. Countless players have admitted to gravitating towards certain equipment partly because of Woods, and we would be here for hours if we wanted to dissect the gear influence he has maintained.
Though he hasn’t teed it up on the PGA Tour for more than a year, Woods is still affecting the choices of other players. The latest example is Jason Day, who recently signed a ball-only deal with Bridgestone in part because he watched Woods hit an array of dynamic short-game shots using the brand’s Tour B XS ball.
Of note, Woods has publicly confirmed that it was actually Bridgestone that produced his Nike golf balls for around 18 years. He officially signed with the company in 2016 and leads a small but impressive tour stable that includes Bryson DeChambeau.
“We were doing some short-game work with Tiger’s ball, the XS, and it caught my attention right away,” Day said in a press release announcing the move. “I initially played the XS and liked it but after working with Bridgestone’s R&D team and really learning about the ball-fitting process, it was obvious that the Tour B X was the best fit for my game.”
Day has been a free agent since the end of 2020 when his deal with TaylorMade expired. His bag has remained mixed throughout the past 15 months as Ping, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Titleist, Odyssey and Artisan brands have been featured. He has played the Bridgestone Tour B X since January 2021, so the announcement was just formalizing his relationship with the company.
The Australian remains desperate for a spark. He came into last week ranked No. 90 in the world despite a recent top-five finish at Torrey Pines.