As with most things in his game, Tiger is a precise and picky when it comes to equipment.
This precision extends down to the golf balls he hits on the driving range to warm up before events. He only hits a discontinued version of Nike’s golf balls on the range when he’s warming up.
I was at the U.S. Open on Thursday watching Woods warm up. He was drilling his irons in a beautiful, consistent pattern. The ball flew up, up, up until it fell gently back to earth as though it had a parachute on it.
As I was walking away from the range, I spied buckets of different balls — Titleist, Bridgestones, Srixons, etc.
Someone working at the U.S. Open noticed me grabbing a peek at the balls. I said I had always wondered if players hit their own balls on the range, and if the people scooping up the balls had to sort the balls out later. Turns out the answer is yes.
The guy working for the Open told me Tiger has his own balls shipped in. He said it’s an older model that Nike doesn’t make anymore.
They believe they can feel a difference between, say a Titleist Pro V1 and a Pro V1x. Therefore, they should warm up with the exact ball they’re going to play. Golf is mental, and pro golfers want no doubt in their heads as they warm up about why the ball is doing what it’s doing.
Woods is particularly fussy. Unlike some players who drop their current clubs for the latest thing their sponsor is making, Woods patiently waits and tests each new thing Nike makes until he’s comfortable. Then, maybe, he switches equipment.
For instance, earlier this year, he finally started using a new 5-wood after six-years of using the same model. And even that new 5-wood from Nike is supposedly custom built to fit his specifications.
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