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That Was Quick: Rory Switched Out His Nike Putter

Sounds as if Rory McIlroy was a bit touchy, too, when asked about it after his 6-over par MC in Abu Dhabi.

From a BBC report:

Despite changing to his old putter in the week he started playing with Nike clubs, McIlroy departed early from an event in which he was runner-up last year.

"I'm not here to talk about my [Nike] contract, I'm here to talk about my golf," said the 23-year-old.

"I knew it was going to be a tough week. I hit the ball really well in Dubai last week, but it just got worse for some reason."

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Reader Comments (50)

I don't care how much money I was offered, after the year he had no way he should be changing equipment manufacturers...greedy and stupid.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
It is too soon to say if it was stupid but it certainly has that potential. Their NIKE drivers seemed to be causing Rory and Tiger the most trouble. Abu Dhabi National GC is an impossible course if you are in the rough all the time.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Anyone know how long Tiger has been using NIKE equipment? He certainly wasn't using it in 2001, which was the last time I got close enough to look into his golf bag.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
what a joke. 2 rounds into the year and people are already blaming the equipment. what about oleson or henley. they seem to be getting along just fine with nike equipment. need to take a step back and give it a few tournaments before we start talking equipment. there might be a process of change, but the equipment isn't inferior.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
Ivan, I'm reasonably certain Tiger switched to the Nike ball in 2000, Nike irons in 2002 and the Nike putter in 2010. I saw something that referenced when the driver, FW woods and wedges were added but am unable to locate it now.

Be interesting to know how Chubby Chandler would have advised Rory to proceed in this area...
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If Rory had used his Titleist sticks and missed the cut, after having arrived rusty after spending a week in Australia with Caroline at the tennis, people would be questioning his commitment. Poor guy can't win. As for his Nike clubs, let's assess late in the year.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
A putter is the most personal club in the bag.
I can understand his decision. It takes much longer to get comfortable with it.
He'll be back to Nike soon.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Surprised that no one is blaming Wozy....
Rory put a Nike putter into play after 10 weeks, it took Tiger 10 there anything to be read into that?
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If anyone needs any more evidence I present you with Stewart Cink -- Nike left him and he's just drained a putt to go 11-under with his new TaylorMade gear and Adidas shoes...'s gotta be the shoes money!!!!
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
rory changed to titleist 712's with stiffer shafts, 3 wood and driver last year and miss 5 cuts

everyone knows it's the arrows and not the indian...ffs
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterUmp
I think everyone's overlooking the the effect of gloves and socks.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
In retrospect, one "the" is sufficient.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
@ qrispy, you said "The equipment change might cause some trust issues in the mind"

Whether the equipment is hitting it crooked or the equipment is causing doubt which is causing the golfer to hit it crooked does not matter, the result is the same.

One thing is for sure, Nike is getting lots of brand awareness. Hard to say whether they enjoy this type of brand awareness or not.

In other news Abu Dhabi apparently just paid 3 million bucks and 2 million bucks to a couple of guys who missed the cut and left town.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@qrispy2 and qrispy1 if applicable,

In case you hadn't noticed, this is a golf forum, not a Mensa reunion. Most of us are here to converse, comment and generally pontificate our thoughts on the "game" of golf. It's entertainment bro, consider it. Save the swing analysis and snark about readers for a forum more suited to your style. Musn't the BBC have something?
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
Today's equipment is similar and very good ... the putter is the most personal club. Rory said he had an issue with the weight ... I'm sure he will figure it out.
Personally I still use the same putter I got in the early 80's .. and it works great!
01.18.2013 | Unregistered Commentersdgolfer2009
What I noticed was that Rory looked like he was rerouting much further under his backswing plane than he seemed to be doing last we saw him. From the first ball I saw him hit while I was falling asleep on Wednesday night, I was struck by how pronounced the loop in his transition seemed. Looked to me like he needs some time on the range, not in The Oven or groveling on his knees back in Fairhaven.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
It might be just me but Rory's golf swing looks a little different this year. It doesn't look as smooth as last year. His down swing looks a little loopy to me. I have always admired his swing but something in the swing isn't right.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMickel
@RES, I noticed that too just watching that commercial, the loop is markedly bigger than it's ever been.
01.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Res - you are spot on. Rory has always struggled with getting the club get too far behind him and as a result, get stuck. From there, it's either a big push or a flip with the hands and a duck hook. Late last year, he had it under control. A couple of months off and he has gone back to "The Devil he knows" . It ain't the tools - it's the workman.
01.19.2013 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
So of Rory missed the cut and shot 6 over playing with his old Titleist equipment. Everyone would think nothing of it . Other then he wasn't ready. Or he was playing tennis. LEAVE NIKE ALONE. Give him a chance to get the feel of his new equipment. Rory will be just fine!!!! GET OFF HIS BACK AND NIKE EQUIPMENT!!!!
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom
No other sport has such vehemence over equipment. Does anyone know or care what kind of racket Venus uses or what brand basketball LeBron dunks? I know I know "golf is personal" and all that jazz.

These two guys hit it better than anyone since Jack and before him Hogan, before him Jones, before him, nobody.

What he should do, however, is honor the sponsor paying him all that money... like when the Nascar guy says "That DuPont TuffPro paint job sure held up good for us today, now pass me a cold refreshin' Bud"
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterB.I.G.
Perhaps the dropping under the plane so much is due to him having to subconciously tweak his swing for the new sticks....then again its early, wait and look at his GIR and Total Ballstriking numbers come April. But shooting six over is not a good start at all...the putter switch is also an indicator all is not perfect as Nike would want it to appear.

But...thm new sticks are shiney and flashy to look at...I give em that.

sorry about the lack of apostrphes...using a CZ keyboard and cant remember the three key funtions for basic punctuation slahes and dots...ARGHHHHHH11...see what I mean___
01.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Notorious B.I.G., this "vehemence" you reference has nothing to do with golf "equipment" broadly, but rather it's specifically about Nike golf equipment. And the reason Nike is in the crosshairs is because that's what Tiger plays -- simple as that. If Tiger were to switch suppliers the scrutiny and anger directed at Nike would dwindle down to nothing....
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Has anybody else noticed the 'anomaly kid' from the last few episodes of Fringe looks like Rory McIlroy?
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@ Tom: Either your caps key got stuck or you need to take some valium and/or get a new hobby.....
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTed Ray's Pipe
I can never remember people criticizing Titleist or Scotty Cameron because Toger Woods used their equipment.

The claim that people hate Nike because that's what Tiger uses now is silly.

Did sales of Titelist or Scotty Cameron take off after Tiger left?

Does Tiger's Ping putter grip hurt Ping?

The bottom line is Nike clubs are 2nd tier. People just won't buy equipment unless the reviews suggest that they can improve scores.

Frankly, Nike has the contrived feel and look of Jack Nicklaus brand clubs or that crap clubmaker Palmer used to own, Peerless Golf.

A few tour player with heavily fitted Nike clubs have won some big tournaments. But club and recreational players are not convince Nike clubs are worth the gamble.
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob
Nike's strategy is to spend a ton on marketing with the hope that golfers get sucked in and make a mistake by buying their clubs.

Nike is almost devoid of club innovation. The main traditionall names have done remarkable work in terms of innovation.

The apparel is actually very good. This is probably a competitive advantage because of their research in other areas of athletics.

However, and suprisingly, their golf shoes are very good. They gernerally look cheap. And how could a company like Nike have missed the spikeless "street/tennis" golf shoe phenomenon?
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Anderson
Lot's of people buy Nike equipment because Tiger uses it, maybe a handful avoid it because of his endorsement. Titleist as a brand was extremely mature before Tiger came on the scene and I bet him using it had very little impact on sales....just as I believe very few people bought a Buick because of him, they didn't buy a TAG because of him, nor did they sign up for an AMEX card because of him. However, since his troubles sponsors who have stuck with him (Nike, EA) or signed him (FUSE, Rolex) have taken a ton of heat. I'd bet the correlation on this board between Tiger serial-dislikers and those who are critical of Nike is very very high. There is no doubt in my mind that those who extremely vocal about wanting Tiger to fail also hope Nike struggles by association and are critical of their product even though the majority have probably never tried it.

Very few people are even aware that Tiger uses a Ping grip. I know, you know, but if you asked the 1,766 "serious golfers" in the GolfTech data pool to name the brand of his grip I'd bet less than 1% of course his using the grip has no impact on Ping's sales.

Nike's line that is sold in Sports Authority ain't the hottest looking stuff in the world but I actually know two people that use their Slingshot irons who love them. Their pro-line equipment is of the highest quality and performs just fine.

All tour players use "highly fitted" equipment regardless of the brand they play. Nike players have won 3 of the last 16 majors and given the relatively small size of their staff that seems pretty good -- especially since Tiger was an 0-fer in those 12!

Nike is selling $700 million of something to someone and I know it's not scratch players so it must be to recreational and club players!
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

That's interesting info re: sales, thanks for sharing.

'm agnostic on Tiger but hopefully I've successfully decoupled and distinguished my distaste for Nike in my reply over on the "Duck Hook" thread. Seriously though, my animus for Nike probably has as much to do with my age and personality juxtaposed with their marketing style and target audience. Nothing wrong with that either, as next to Apple, Nike may be the most successful marketing company in the history of commerce. And at my age, nobody is targeting their marketing to my demographic unless they're selling fiber supplements or antacid. Now, if I can find my Goosenecks and Etonics, I'm off to the range!
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce

Don't forget the Viagra and Cialis, Golf Channel staples.
01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
What DTF? You know TWO people who love their Nike Slingshots?

Well, I guess that evidence shoots my argument all to hell then.

01.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob
Brands that you often see in players bags where they are not paid to play:

Vokey (Titleist)
Scotty Cameron (Titleist)

Brands that you sometimes see in players bags where they are not play to play:


Brands that you never see in players bags where they are not paid to play:


I can't think of a single instance where I have seen a Nike driver, fairway wood, hybrid, wedge, iron, putter in a non-Nike staff players' bag. Ever.

There have been a number of players that will wear Nike footware without a Nike contract, but never clubs.

I think that says it.

But, sometimes it gets annoying when less than best equipment floods the airwaves with marketing and promotion.
01.19.2013 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Seeing how Rory is number one in the world, and the rule book says that number one plays the last man in the field, its pretty obvious Rory might get a nike guy. But some scribbler and Shack seemto be ascribing nefarious intent on the part of the tournament to this. Why dont you guys tell us the matches start on number one tee too.
01.20.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
@Rob and Ace: +2 and then some.

Nike is generally weekend warrior type equipment. Agree ALL brands have highly specialized top of the line models/tech...but overall like the poster mentioned about usage among NOT being paid to play...Nike is a non-factor. Adams IMO is way underated for their tech/price point....same with some others like TourEdge and other more boutique brands. Their hockey stuff was crap and they hurt Bauer's rep. Their snowboarding line is not really selling despite them signing some of the top riders...clever marketing if your target market are somewhat lemming-like. People who know, will gravitate to other brands.
01.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnncz
Up front I DO NOT LIKE NIKE. I don't like their overpaid athletes, their underpaid workers, and the marketing costs(which include the price of the athletes) far exceeding the costs of the actual product. They rob money from the poor and give it to the rich. Eff 'em.

That being said, for the umpteenth time, I have never hit a Nike club that feels worth a darn, it's like pewter instead of Sterling Silver, or as we say in South Texas, it's junk. I must note that I have never hit a pro line Nike iron, and as it was with Callaway, I did not like their irons until I hit some of the pro line, and at that, some of the pro line stuff was not that good (to me).

I would like to give DTF's $5/$3=$8 Nike club a try, in a LH model, since I could probably make better contact not playing it upside down. I DO try new Nike stuff, when LH is available, but see the previous paragraph for a review.

As to the TW/Nike diss possibility as proposed by Del- sure, but just as many or not more people like it better, because of the TW usage.

Interesting commentary and listing of equipment by sgolfer. I was saddened that Mizuno doesn't get more play by the pros, because they are the best feeling irons, maybe ever.

This thread has been a fun read, lots of good stuff. And if I hit a Nike club that I like, I will say so here. I keep looking thru those thrift store barrels.
01.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@digs: Yer a lefty eh??? doncha worry, won't hold that against being a big Gretzky fan and all ;-))

I was going to mention Mizuno, but that's like preaching to the choir for those who have a feel for solid forgings. Also; agree with keeping more equipment opinions on this site going...loyalties/opinions run deep in that pool!

Fact is Nike makes decent stuff overall...akin to Microsoft products in general production; decently functional for the mass market/sheeple...but real IT/Binary pros know what's the real deal and have an almost die-hard loyalty based on past performance.

Nike did(still does/attempt) it's best to manufacture a history of excellencein all sports. Golfwise it was based all around riding you-know-who's back...and now that he's been ridden hard and put away wet... they're onto another pony. Enjoy the ride Rors!!!
01.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Yup Rob, that accounts for about $800 in sales and leaves $699,999,200 of sales spread around among other "club and recreational golfers"!

digger, those clubs are readily available on eBay. I hit mine a couple times yesterday, it is money out of FW bunkers. Look for the slingshot, head is scalloped on top and has a carbon fiber crown. The shaft is a "made for" by Diamana, purists aren't much on that shaft but it works beautifully in that particular club.

sgolfer, good observations there. No doubt that TM makes the best drivers, and if tour players couldnt accept compensation Mizuno would probably have 80% of the forged iron market on tour, but what those guys use has little to do with what works for "club and recreational" golfers. If you regrouped those 13 companies based on sales I think the top 5 would be Titleist, Taylormade, Callaway, Ping and Nike. With a little work I could figure out the exact order excepting Ping which is private. Anyone have any idea how much Ping does in total sales?
01.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
That would be "could not accept compensation"...
01.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF - clubs and apparel are two different things.

You need to break down the $700 mil in sales between clubs and apparel.

I actually wear the occasional Nike shirt, slacks, and shorts. I have spent a lot more on Nike apparel over the last 20 years than your two buddies have spent on Slingshots. Probably five times as much.

Nike golf apparel is excellent.

Nike golf shoes are average.

Nike golf clubs suck shit.
01.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

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