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Golf Australia Express : February 2013
confidence would have been sky high. Rory would have happily given Nike the specs from his beloved old Titleist gear, chosen the best fit Nike ball and clubs and figured—just like many others before him—‘I’ll be right on the first tee.’ It’s funny to me because we see almost every player change clubs at some time in their career and, generally, we think nothing of it. Players move to the next generation driver or set of irons from their sponsors all the time. Even balls are not off-limits to change. Take a look at what golf brands are now offering. A driver or blade/muscle-back iron from one generation can be extremely different to the next. Yet Tour players seem to get by fine when they change within their sponsor’s gear. Why is that? Why does a sponsor change affect players more than an equipment change? My belief is there are six different equipment categories that need a change from time to time. They are the driver, fairway woods/hybrids, irons, wedges, putter and—most importantly—the ball. Players who gradually upgrade these one item at a time have a better chance of familiarising themselves with the new equipment. But it’s too much to expect of any finely- tuned professional to change everything from one company to another and immediately do well, no matter how much cashola is involved. When I look at golf’s smoothest transition from one brand to the other, it was coincidently another a man moving the same way from Titleist and Nike. He was also world No.1. But the one significant difference was Tiger Woods took more than 10 years to completely move all his equipment to the Swoosh. The last thing to change for Tiger was his Scotty Cameron putter, which he replaced with a Nike Method in 2010. In other words he caressed his way to the Swoosh over a decade. Smart. I’m pretty sure the Old Dog didn’t share that bit of knowledge to his younger charge when he signed on for the start of 2013. But hey, the Old Dog is still eyeing off a return to the Top Dog mantle. OTG TWO WOEFUL 75s saw Rory McIlroy open up his year in Abu Dhabi. He and the 14 brand-spanking new Nike clubs (and ball) he started using on the Thursday missed the cut by four shots. It was a horrifying display from the world numero uno. Playing so early in the season with new equipment was clearly the wrong move for both McIlroy and his new multi- million dollar paying sponsor. Of course, that’s easy to say in hindsight. After all, we’ve all gone out the evening before the monthly medal and played a brilliant nine holes by ourselves only to fall apart the next day when a pencil and scorecard are in the back pocket. Rory would have done the same with his new clubs and Nike ball in practice. His RORY MCILROY'S SWITCH TO ALL-NIKE GEAR COULD HURT HIM A WHILE BEFORE IT HELPS HIM , WRITES MARK ALLEN. ROOKIE MISTAKE TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS DPS BA with Mark Allen MARCO'S MUSE It’s funny to me because we see almost every player change clubs at some time in their career and, generally, we think nothing of it.