Interview with Nike Golf's Eric Schindler
- PGATOUR.COM Style Insider Greg Monteforte spoke with Nike Golf's Eric Schindler about the company's designs for The Open Championship. (Images courtesy of Nike Golf)
The Open Championship is known for its damp and blustery conditions. This presents Nike Golf with a great opportunity to not only protect its athletes from the elements, but to also showcase a range of new apparel featuring wool and engineered knit fabrics.
Eric Schindler from Nike Golf’s apparel team took time to talk with me about how Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy influenced the new designs, Rory’s go-to polo, and one of the hottest trends to hit the fairways this fall – camo.
Style Insider: Tiger Woods’ insight inspired the sleeve design on his TW Engineered Sweater. Talk about the process in developing this sweater? How did you work with Tiger to develop this? What makes it unique?
Eric Schindler: Tiger has always enjoyed the benefits of wearing a sweater when it is cooler. We wanted to make a sweater that delivered him all the benefits of a sweater, with additional warmth and mobility properties.
We worked with him to develop a unique 3D knitting process for the sleeves that provides additional warmth and mobility throughout the round. Tiger has the prototypical reverse diamond shape and needs room through the top of the sleeve, but a more fitted feel through the forearm.
The most progressive benefit of the technology is that we introduced a slight amount of articulation to the sleeve at the elbow joint, which Tiger instantly appreciated. The golf swing is an incredibly fluid and athletic movement and the added articulation aids in fit at address as well as through the full swing. Tiger immediately put this sweater in play at the TW Challenge in 2012 and has worn it ever since.
SI: Rory McIlroy will be wearing the new Hypervis Half-zip Cover-up. This is an eye-catching outerwear piece with vibrant pops color. Talk a little bit about the design and the technology that is built into the Hypervis.
ES: We built this Therma-FIT cover up specifically for Rory. Contrary to Tiger, Rory prefers to wear a cover up.
We took his insights into overall fabric and feel and created a brushed Therma-FIT body fabric with a bonded knit outer layer. What this delivers is the ultimate in warmth but also thermoregulation. The exposed Therma-FIT fabric at the top of the garment acts as a vent system to keep him from overheating. It creates an amazing visual as well.
We used the same construction in his Lightweight Innovation Color polo to provide the ultimate in mobility through the swing. The first time he tested this piece for us earlier this year, he was ecstatic.
SI: Rory wore the Lightweight Innovation Color polo at Augusta National and Pinehurst No. 2. It is also part of his script for two of the days at Royal Liverpool. Why does Rory continue to turn to this polo for major events? What do you like about the new colorways that we’ll see at the Open Championship?
ES: This polo is the perfect combination of form, function, and identity. If you ask anyone in the general public, they will undoubtedly say “that’s Rory’s polo.”
We wanted to extend the conversation with this polo since it is so iconic and such a great vehicle for all that we stand for….performance, color, and technology. It is the first polo ever made in Rory’s specific construction, one that we call the mobility chassis.
The new colors are just so vibrant and we played them against a directed palette of greys to let them look their best. We are excited about the look and the connection this polo has with Rory.
SI: History tells us that we’ll likely see rain at some point over the four days at The Open Championship. Talk a little bit about the rain gear that Nike athletes will be equipped with at Royal Liverpool.
ES: All of our players will be outfitted in what we think is the best rain jacket and pant tandem in the industry. We introduced the Hyperadapt Rain Jacket and Hyper Pant in Fall 2013 to rave review from our athletes and our consumers.
With the proprietary construction in the jacket, it feels like you are wearing a sweater or a cover-up. You don’t have to wear an oversized, loud rain jacket anymore to stay dry. The Hyperadapt allows for the ultimate in mobility and quiet performance. The stretch fabric at the shoulder runs all the way through the upper torso and through the elbow area to allow for a free and confident swing.
Some of the consumer tests that our European partners have done show an increase in swing speed from our competitors and upwards of 6 more yards off the driver. We are excited about this technology and it has become a franchise for us, a real game-changer.
SI: Camo is the hot pattern for fall, and Charl Schwartzel and Tommy Fleetwood will wear polos with camo designs. Why is camo trending on the fairways these days?
ES: Camo is not new to golf but we felt that it was the right time for us to introduce it this fall. We have some really progressive athletes out there that are into all kinds of other sports and camo plays a big part in print expression in those sports.
We developed a unique camo print that pays homage to the game by mimicking a golf course layout in a subtle way. Our players are excited about the crossover appeal of camo and you will see more of it as the season progresses. All of our camo is built on the most technological fabrics and performs just like our other products. Be on the lookout for the camo pant as well on our athletes, if you can see it of course.