Whisper it quietly, but the Tiger may finally be stirring from its two-year slumber. His form in the recent Emirates Australian Open saw him finish a respectable third in the tournament, finishing behind Greg Chalmers and John Senden. Indeed, had it not been for a dismal third round 75, Woods may well have comfortably won the tournament, posting as he did scores of 68, 67 and a final day 67 to land third spot on his own.
Woods frequent interviews where he seems to dismiss reporters fears over his much modified swing and insistence that things are coming together, finally look like they have a grain of truth. It could not have come at a better time especially after this week’s Presidents Cup, not least because it pitted Tiger against former caddie Steve Williams (now on the bag for Adam Scott). Tiger may have finally found some form, even if the team golf format hasn’t been the best showcase for his talents in the past.
But Tiger performed in true form for Team USA in the President’s Cup. After struggling on the opening couple of days, Tiger found his form over the last couple of days and even scored the winning point that saw the US successfully defend the trophy. Let’s see below is what he was carrying in his bag for the competition.
The Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 deg)
Tiger’s length from the tee has never been in question. Quite simply, he hits the ball the proverbial mile. What has been an issue is accuracy and his remodelled swing is still somewhat erratic from the tee box. Whether it’s the dreaded snap-hook, coming out of the swing too early for a slice or even just driving the ball straight into the rough, driving will be the benchmark of Woods’ game.
Fairway Woods: Nike VR Pro 3 wood prototype (15 degrees)
Nike SQII 5 wood (19 degrees)
Although we have listed a 3 and 5-wood here, Woods is a golfer who will adapt his bag depending upon the course and conditions he is likely to face. Tiger will drop the 5-wood from his bag at times and replace it with a 2-Iron for certain courses and conditions. Interestingly, he has not yet switched his 5-wood to the VR Pro range of Nike clubs and one can only assume that Tiger feels a certain affinity with his 5-wood in order to keep the older club in the bag.
Irons 3 to 9: Nike VR Pro Blades
Although much has been made of his play from the tee, Woods iron play is arguably where his real strength lies. Other golfers may be able to hit the ball equally far, or perhaps even further, than Woods off the tee, but when it comes to hitting greens with unerring regularity and putting himself into position to make birdies, Woods iron game is second to none. As a Nike Pro, Woods uses the latest VR Pro blades and the signs are there that his excellent iron game is finally getting back into shape.
Wedges: Nike 56 degree VR Sand Wedge
Nike 60 degree VR Lob Wedge
Tiger is unusual in that he has two very lofted wedges in his bag. Other pro’s tend to take a 52 or 54 degree lofted club as their first wedge and a 56 or 58 degree for their second, but Tiger prefers 56 and 60 degree lofts. It obviously works for him especially around the greens, where he has at times played the most incredible of shots, perhaps most notably arguably the greatest golf shot that this author has ever seen at the 16th hole of the 2005 Masters.
Putter: Nike Method 001
At his best, there is a metronomic quality to Tiger’s putting. It seems as if anything from six feet and in is a “gimme”. He may have struggled a little more on the greens in recent years, but if he can find his best form with the new Nike Method putter, then the Rest of the World team at the Presidents Cup this week will need to be at their very best.
Golf ball: Nike One Tour D
The Nike One Tour D ball is optimised for players with a moderate to fast swing who want great distance from the tee allied with superior control around the greens. Woods is not the only golfer to use this ball on the tour with Bob Tway, Lucas Glover, John Cook, Simon Dyson, Toyokazu Fujishima and Jhonattan Vegas also using the same ball.
Images by Keith Allison, Gorilla Golf Blog©