There’s always been talk that Tiger will be switching to a Nike putter at some point. Nike has always felt pressure to represent every club in Tiger’s bag, but the trusty flat stick that’s helped him secure 13 majors and many, many wins has always been the putter in play at the start of every tournament…until now.
It’s been confirmed by news sources from The Open as well as from Woods himself that he’ll be more than likely playing a Nike Method prototype putter in this weekend’s Major. As a Scotty Cameron enthusiast this comes as a bit of a shock. It seemed that until something monumental changed in his game or life that the GSS Newport 2 would stay in the bag for many years to come. It looks like that monumental change has occurred. Woods claimed in a recent article that he’s always had trouble on slower greens, but this putter made the ball come off the face a little faster and didn’t feel like he needed to manipulate his stroke as much to achieve the results he was looking for. Here are some of my thoughts on the switch:
Q. Will this be the end of Scotty Cameron now that Tiger isn’t using one?
A. Absolutely not. Scotty Cameron has made a name for himself on the PGA tour that’s synonymous with the highest quality. When you see statistics of clubs in use at an event, Scotty Cameron always has a strong showing. These are the best players in the world and I assure you they’re playing with that piece of equipment because they truly believe it’s the best for their game and not because Tiger is using one. In decades past the fact that Tiger was using a Scotty might have given validation to how good Cameron putters are. Now, that validation comes from multiple wins on multiple Tours almost weekly. It’s hard to argue with that.
Q. Will Tiger Woods back-up or commemorative putters go down in value now that he’s not using one?
A. I really doubt it. In fact, in my eyes it would make them go up in value if anything. Here you have putters that were made for or modeled after the putter that the #1 player in the world is using and bookmark a certain era in his game. If he makes the switch for good, it could be more of a piece of history than a modern day replica.
Q. Is Tiger switching a bad decision?
A. Who knows? Certainly not me. I do know that results speak for themselves and it’ll be pretty tough to beat the winning streaks he’s had using his GSS. Time will tell how well this putter will treat him. At the end of the day the man plays golf for a living, and though a lot of loyalties run deep, you ultimately have to put something in play that gets the ball in the hole. If Tiger feels this putter will do that in a way that his old putter will not, he’s going to switch. Period. I would imagine that this particular model has been tweaked or changed a significant amount from the OTR Nike offering to suit Tiger’s needs. That’s only a guess, but based on his history with clubs and balls, little to no part of Wood’s game comes straight from a retail rack.
Q. Is the switch permanent?
A. Only time will tell. If he puts this putter in play and wins The Open, I’d imagine it’ll stay in the bag for a while. If he plays terrible, maybe it won’t. Since it’s a new change it’s anybody’s guess how it’ll work out. I will say that regardless of personal distractions in his life, Tiger is ultimately still out there to win. In fact, nothing would silence nay-sayers more than a big win so I think winning is at the top of his list just as it’s always been. If a change in equipment is what he needs to make that happen, then so be it. With strong finishes in other majors this year it’s not inconceivable to think he’ll be in contention on Sunday, but again, your guess is as good as mine.
These are just my personal thoughts and opinions on some of the questions people have asked me. I tried to look at things as objectively as possible. I’m not Tiger Woods, nor will I ever be. It’s far too presumptuous of me to think that I know better or that he’s making a bad decision without seeing the results first. Like with all things, only time will tell.
(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
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