Equipment: Why are so many Nike tour players switching to TaylorMade woods?November 18, 2016 Golf Equipment
Tiger Woods joins Rory McIlroy among the Nike players to start using TaylorMade woods. But what makes them so popular? Equipment editor James Savage gives his views
UPDATE: Tiger Woods officially joins TaylorMade in equipment deal. The 14-time Major champion will be playing TaylorMade woods, irons and wedges.
Tiger Woods has been spotted using TaylorMade woods, adding to the long list of Nike contracted players using either the M1 or M2.
?MAJOR VIDEO? Tiger Woods seen hitting TaylorMade M1 3 wood this morning at Medalist. Via Will Wilcox Snapchat (@yuell365) pic.twitter.com/oNDDGqFGAQ
— TWfans (@TwSpot) November 17, 2016
The decision by Nike to leave the golf hardware business was a bit of a shock. It was also a bit of a wake-up call for the industry.
Supply was greater than demand and something had to give.
It immediately posed the question of what clubs would the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari and Thorbjorn Olesen start using.
Well, for most, the answer was has been TaylorMade woods – a brand which has been put up for sale by its parent company, Adidas.
Molinari and Olesen have also been using new TaylorMade irons and wedges.
The success of the TalorMade woods – particularly the M2 driver and fairway woods – has proved that TaylorMade are on top of their game.
It has surely underlined the fact to any potential buyers that they are a successful, viable and profitable business. Or maybe Adidas will have second thoughts?
There can be no greater endorsement than players using their equipment – not because they are paid to do so, but because they’ve tried what’s out there and have decided it is the best.
Tiger Woods has been seen testing a TaylorMade fairway wood but we’re unsure whether it was the M1 or M2.
We’ll have to wait until the Hero World Challenge staring December 1 to see what TaylorMade woods he takes into tournament play.
Koepka put the M2 driver into action at the Ryder Cup, McIlroy began using M2 woods at the HSBC Champions while Molinari and Olesen have both been using the M2 and M1 driver respectively.
It’s an interesting scenario for the Nike contracted players as they are essentially free to use whatever golf clubs they feel will work best for them, simple as that.
They are still under contract with Nike which means we won’t see them signing deals with anyone else until their current contracts have run down.
It’s actually a great time to be a Nike player as you are getting paid by them but are free to experiment with different equipment.
It wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that provisional deals with brands have been already agreed in principle.
But not with McIlroy. And it’s a situation which seems to suit the Northern Irishman who has been using the M2 TaylorMade woods.
“I might find a ball that works. I might find a set of irons that work. It could be a real mix-match of golf clubs in my bag come early 2017. But it’s nice to have the option,”
“After this tournament, (DP World Tour Championship) I’ve got a little bit of travel to do, but I’m coming back here to Dubai in the middle of December for 10 days and I’m going to test,” he said.
“I’m going to spend a few days with a few different equipment companies and test and see what they have, and really just see what works best for me.”
We caught up with Marcus Armitage, who recently secured his European Tour card for 2017 through the Challenge Tour, and asked him why he’d switched from Nike to the TaylorMade M2.
“It’s the feel and the distance,” he said.
“You can really feel the ball on the clubface. Since I switched to the M2 driver I’ve gained 20 yards of carry. It’s a fantastic club.
“I’ve got a really strange set-up where I have a shorter shaft, heavy head that’s flat and open. The guys at TaylorMade worked hard to get it right for me.”
TaylorMade have always been pretty aggressive from a marketing point of view but they’ve been able to sit back and take the plaudits for what is a fantastic product.
Nike leaving the hardware game was an opportunity for all brands to try and gain some more market share but it seems TaylorMade have benefited more than anyone else.
For more information on the TaylorMade M1 and M2 woods CLICK HERE