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Friday, December 6, 2013

OK, About Tiger's New Driver...

Much of the buzz at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge on Thursday concerned Tiger's improved fairway percentage. He used the driver 7 times (I think) and hit the fairway 6 of them -- an astounding stat for the Big Cat!

Tiger on range with new driver

After Golf Channel caught on and talked about it on-air, it became such a matter of interest that PGATOUR.com put up a post specifically about the new club. Here's the skinny for you equipment geeks out there:

The driver is the new Nike VR_S Covert 2.0, which can be distinguished from the original by the white cavity back. You can see it in the photo above; it's obscured in the photo on the post because of the band identifying the source of the photo as Golf Channel.

The Covert 2.0 is an adjustable model, but either Tiger has an "unadjustable" model or has simply had the adjustable bits glued down.

The shaft has also been changed, which GC detailed on Golf Central after the tournament broadcast. Here's the detail info from the post:
Aside from the driver switch, the other interesting piece of news is that Woods decided to use a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103x shaft in the driver instead of his usual Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana WhiteBoard 73X shaft.
The Blue Board shaft is the same version he currently uses in his VR_S Covert 3- and 5-wood. Woods stated on his site that the heavier shaft gave him better feel of the club at impact.
GC added that the shaft was also softer (more flexible), probably to further help Tiger's feel. As noted earlier, the initial results from the first round suggest that Tiger may have finally solved some of his driver problems. This is probably the result of Tiger spending more time using TrackMan, which he mentioned in his presser on Wednesday.

And personally, I suspect that shaft change is what's really having the biggest effect on his fairway percentage. As far back as the 1950s, the legendary player/teacher Tommy Armour suggested that weekend players use a more flexible shaft to get better results. It seems that, as time goes on, that advice is proving to be more and more accurate, even for the pros.

There are also questions about Tiger perhaps changing his ball as well. This PGATOUR.com post about the new Nike balls says:
[Nike's chief ball designer Rock] Ishii also confirmed Tiger Woods has been experimenting with RZN Platinum, using the ball most recently during his exhibition match against McIlroy at Mission Hills Golf Club in China.
Rory is already using the new RZN Black (he was playing it when he won the Emirates Australian Open last week). Tiger apparently isn't using the new ball this week but since he's testing it, we may see him changing balls as well pretty soon.

So now you know the latest buzz about Tiger's equipment. I'll be interested to see if his improved driver play continues.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mike,

    In order to use my girlfriend driver with a L shaft, i have to slowwww down my tempo in order to swing correctly. It's obviously a good thing because i have plenty of time to catch the ball adn it improved my stability. My point is that may be tiger's tempo changed too. (or shaft lenght)

    Thanks

    Baptiste

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  2. Good point, Baptiste. A number of commentators have remarked that Tiger plays sooo much better when he doesn't swing as hard. Perhaps, as Charlie Rymer noted (I think it was Rymer), he doesn't feel he has to swing as hard with the softer shaft.

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