By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
It’s gotta be the shoes, right?
Tiger Woods’ magic returned last week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance as he won for the 73rd time on the PGA TOUR, tying tournament host Jack Nicklaus for second all-time. You might have seen his amazing chip at the par-3 16th on Sunday.
From last week to three months ago during his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard to last summer, Woods has been wearing a new golf shoe – Nike’s TW ’13, inspired by Nike’s FREE technology.
Woods, a noted workout fanatic, asked his longtime apparel outfitter to design a golf shoe that gave him the same kind of performance and fit as the Nike FREE shoes he wears while exercising.
“I train with Nike FREE technology all the time,” Woods said. “I love training in it, running in it, lifting in it. So I asked, why can’t I play golf in it?”
The shoe the company devised – which Woods started wearing last summer and will available to the public on Friday -- features the new Nike Dynamic Fit support system, which the company said “delivers unprecedented strength-to-weight ratio and one-to-one fitted support.” Flywire-infused nylon straps extend from the footbed to the lacing system, securing the foot for an adaptive fit that provides stability with mobility.
“Now my feet are stronger and I feel more athletic,” Woods said. “These shoes provide freedom of movement and allow me to release more power through my swing.”
Woods has gravitated toward the white model of the shoe, though they’re also available in black. Manufacturers’ suggested retail price is $220.
IN TIGER’S BAG: During Woods’ pre-tournament chat last week on Google, he was asked whether he’ll take a 2-iron to the U.S. Open at Olympic Club. His answer was “absolutely”, though he noted it won’t be an automatic choice on the tight, sloping fairways at the San Francisco course.
“A lot of it depends on how Mike (Davis, USGA executive director) sets up the tees and how the wind’s moving, because there are a few opportunities to drive it down there,” Woods said. “But you have to have the right shape of shot. You’re firing into slopes, into the doglegs. It’s a golf course where you’ve got to have an overall game plan, but you’ve got to be very flexible and change it up.
“The ball’s not going to be flying very far, that’s something you have to take into account.”
SWAP: Matt Every drew attention in January at the Sony Open in Hawaii when he used a Black Hawk putter, a peculiar flatstick with a huge black head that looked vaguely like an old VHS tape stuck to a shaft. He finished T6 in the event and the putter was the talk of the equipment world for a couple weeks.
Well, you know how it goes sometimes with golfers and their putters. Every’s Black Hawk is on the shelf for now, replaced at the Memorial Tournament by an Odyssey ProType Tour Series No. 7. He finished T6 and finished 10th in the field in putts per GIR.
WINNER’S BAG: Woods at the Memorial
Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance:
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degree, Graphite Design DI 6X shaft)
Fairway wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood (15 degrees); Nike SQ II 5-wood (19 degrees)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike ONE Tour D