The PGA Tour schedule resumes this week after a layoff since Thanksgiving and being the new calendar year there are always lots of equipment changes both because of new endorsement deals and toursters putting into play the latest and greatest OEM’s have to offer.
This year has an added wrinkle though, the withdrawal by Nike Golf from the club and ball business which meant several high profile players who formerly had deals with the company were in the position of looking for a new company. Besides this disrupting of the status quo and for other professionals looking for a new deal, there’s not as much money being spent by companies for endorsement contracts…a sign of the less than robust golf equipment market.
Tiger Woods who had been the lead Nike endorser hasn’t signed a club contract with anyone but did play TaylorMade Golf woods at his comeback event after almost a year and a half recovering from back surgery. What the former world number one did sign was a contract with Bridgestone Golf to play their B330S golf ball—somewhat of a surprise since Woods had played Titleist before signing with Nike and Titleist is far and away the most played ball on all the men’s tours. Woods also switched from his Nike putter back to the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS model that he won most of his major championships with.
Number two in the world Rory McIlroy also had a club deal with Nike and spent a lot of time testing other OEM’s equipment. It has been reported though not official as yet he will play Callaway Golf woods and irons, the Titleist ProV1 ball and a putter from Callaway’s Odyssey division.
Both Woods and McIlroy continue to endorse Nike apparel.
U.S. Ryder Cup team member and former Nike staff member Brooks Koepka has made no announcement of his preferred equipment decision.
Ball maker Volvik is promoting the fact long hitting Bubba Watson has switched from the best-selling Titleist Pro V1 to their S4 4-piece tour ball probably in the pink color to match his PING G driver. For the past four years Volvik has been the most played ball on the LPGA Tour though Tim Petrovic is the only PGA Tour player to tee them up.
And speaking of the ladies, Callaway lost the number one ladies player Lydia Ko from their staff when the 19-year old New Zealand native signed with Parsons Xtreme Golf the club company owned by Go Daddy’s Bob Parson a self-confessed golf fanatic. In two years of existence PXG, whose clubs are in the ultra-expensive category, has signed several endorsement deals with top players on both the LPGA and PGA Tours.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?