home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 28, 2006

Stan Grissinger

Rick Waleen

Bob Wood

Tiger Woods

CINDY DAVIS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Cindy Davis, the U.S. General Manager for Nike Golf, and welcome to our kickoff event of the Whistle Stop Tour, a two-day coast-to-coast tour that will really give us the opportunity to show you why in our estimation it's hip to be square, and I'm not kidding when I say that.
Today you're going to have the opportunity to check out for yourself the new Sasquatch Nike Golf Sumo2 and Sumo drivers, which have already won on Tour and created quite a buzz already in the marketplace.
This Whistle Stop Tour in many ways is indicative of how we approach our business at Nike Golf. It's our nature to innovate, to bring fresh ideas to the marketplace, so we began this Tour this morning at Nike Golf World Headquarters, Nike Inc.'s, headquarters in beaver ton, Oregon, flew here to hook up with Tiger Woods. Immediately after this event, another Nike Golf athlete, David Duval, will be joining us to fly to Phoenix where we'll stage our second event. And then tomorrow morning yet another Nike Golf athlete, Jason Gore, is going to join us as we fly to New York City to conduct our final event in the Financial District of New York.
So today here in LA we want to do a few things; first, give you a quick update on Nike Golf's business; also, give you a chance to see the innovations behind the design and development of our Sumo2 and Sumo drivers; and then a treat for all of us, we'll have some time to spend with Tiger Woods. He'll talk about how Nike Golf has played a role in his phenomenal career, and then we'll all be treated to seeing live his expertise in hitting the new Sumo product down the runway out there, and you all will have an opportunity to do that, as well.
To start this off, I'm going to ask Nike Golf president Bob Wood to come up here and join us. Bob has been the leader for Nike Golf the last eight years and really has brought us on a path of remarkable growth. He's a veteran of Nike having been with the company 26 years and brought that same Nike culture, philosophy, innovation and commitment to excellence to what we do at Nike Golf, so please join me in welcoming Nike Golf president Bob Wood.
BOB WOOD: Thanks, Cindy. My remarks are going to be pretty short and sweet, but I wanted to just kind of set up a few things about Nike Golf and what we've been doing.
As she mentioned, I've been with Nike for 26 years and eight years ago took on the challenge of building Nike Golf. When we decided to begin to build a business in the golf business, we thought about a few things, a couple things that were really going to make a difference for us.
The first thing was product. I think one of the most important things to understand about any business at Nike is that Nike considers itself a product company first. We work with the best athletes in the world, we give them the products that help them earn their living, so we have a very high standard for products in everything that we do.
We started with footwear and apparel in the golf business. We have brought a lot of innovation to footwear and apparel. We've grown our apparel business to the point where we are now the number one golf apparel brand both in the world and in the United States.
We then went into the golf ball business, and I think the biggest milepost there in the golf ball business was in the year 2000 when we switched Tiger Woods to our golf ball and he won four majors consecutively. When that happened, it really sort of changed our point of view and our outlook about our future in the golf business and who we could be.
The next step for us really was the equipment business, and we've been -- this is our fifth year making golf clubs, and it's really a milestone for us. This event is really a milestone for us. In the last five years I would argue that Nike Golf has brought as much innovation to the golf equipment business as anybody out there, as anybody we compete with in the business.
I think one of the first products we brought out was the SlingShot iron, a tremendous product for us, really kind of set the bar as far as innovation. We followed that up with the SasQuatch driver, which we have in the market this year, and again, really began to develop a ton of momentum in our club business.
The second thing that we thought about was building our business as an authentic brand. There's a lot of things that go into that.
But the one thing I would talk about is our presence on Tour and sports marketing. This year, for example, we had more wins with our driver on the PGA TOUR than any of our competitors and more wins with our irons than any of our competitors. We had nine -- it's not just about Tiger, although Tiger is incredibly important. But we had nine different players win with our driver and win with our irons just on the PGA TOUR, and we were either first or second in wins in every equipment category all the way from driver, ball, all the way through footwear.
So what this really gets down to is we're getting a lot of momentum, and we're building our business. We grew our business 12 percent last year. Our business overall is up 23 percent year to date this year, and we've got a ton of momentum here in the United States, which is 50 percent of the world market.
Really what we're here to talk about today is product, and specifically our new drivers. So what we want to do to segue into that before we bring up Stan Grissinger and Rick Waleen is take a look at this video about the new product. Thanks.
(Video played.)
STAN GRISSINGER: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our launch of the SQ Sumo and Sumo2 drivers. I'm Stan Grissinger, I'm the business director for golf balls and golf clubs for Nike Golf, and joining me up here on stage is Rick Waleed. He is the lead engineer on the SQ product and he's going to do a lot of talking around the technical aspects of the product today.
A couple comments I wanted to make first is first of all, Bob mentioned -- I think it's appropriate that this product is launching and will effectively ship to the marketplace on the fifth anniversary of our entry into the club business. I say it's appropriate because this product embodies what we want to achieve and what we want to accomplish in the club business. It pushes the envelope in terms of technology, it challenges consumers' traditional ways of thinking. It's everything that we want to be.
As excited as we are about our accomplishments over the last five years of the business, it's really the next five years that we're focused on and we're excited about.
When we look at the driver category, there's probably no other category that energizes golfers other than drivers. Every golfer you meet wants to talk about his driver, wants to tell you how far he's hitting his driver. We've been in the business now five years, and it's by far the most competitive segment that we compete in.
Even by our own standards, our first three years we had mixed results. But it was last year when we introduced the SQ driver that we started to hit our stride in this category. It was a success not only on Tour but in the marketplace almost immediately. Within the first three weeks of it being on Tour we had two wins with Carl Pettersson and K.J. Choi winning with the product, and in the marketplace it immediately evolved into a top three market share position. We had never been inside the top eight prior to that. So it was a huge step for us.
The thing about the product that was interesting is that it was based on a technology platform of geometry, and this geometry has provided a foundation for future evolutions, and what you're seeing today is really an evolution of that geometry technology platform, and Rick is going to get into a little bit more detail on this.
But I think as you think about the drivers and what we're trying to achieve in the marketplace, again, this is very much what we want to do. This product by a lot of standards seems radical, seems different. To us it's very much a part of the way we want to do business and what type of product we want to bring to the marketplace.
With that I want to turn it over to Rick Waleen here. As I mentioned, Rick is our lead engineer on the development of the products that we do in Fort Worth, and he has by far the toughest job. We have Tom Stites, who's a wonderful visionary when it comes to products, and he's able to see products.
A lot of times what happens is that gets written down on a napkin or a piece of paper and handed to Rick Waleen, and it's his job to bring that concept, that vision, to life. That includes refining the process, working with the CAD designers tying to refine the design.
Then he has to figure out a way where we can produce the thing in mass. Then ultimately the product that's produced and made in production has to perform for the consumers.
So by far the biggest challenges we face in the product category is in Rick's area. With that I'm going to turn it over to him and let him tell you about the product.
RICK WALEEN: Well, I'm excited to be here today. This is a fun, exciting time to be at Nike Golf with the success we've recently had with the SQ driver and now being able to roll out our new drivers here. I'm going to talk to you about it. It's a great time to be here.
We're going to start off talking about the new Sumo2. I assume many of you have seen this, heard about it, many of you have probably hit it. This product is awesome. It's big, it's bold, it's accurate, it's long. Everything about it is geared towards performance. The shape of it is new, unique, radical, people will recognize it, and we're extremely pleased of what we've produced in this product.
Some of the words you're going to hear and the technical terms that you're going to hear about as we discuss this product, one of them is MOI. MOI is a fancy way of talking about stability. When we went out to design this product, we knew we had a platform of geometry. We owned geometry when we came out with SQ, and we were able to enhance that geometry with the new Sumo2.
The geometry basically yields an MOI. MOI is the resistance to twisting or the stability of the golf club. What that directly gives you is performance in both distance and in dispersion. This chart right here is showing you, if you look in the yellow, it's trying to demonstrate that not only do you get a little bit more distance because of the loss of impact velocity of an off-center hit, but you're also getting less dispersion. It's a Tiger shot longer down the fairway, which is a great thing for a driver.
The MOI on this product is 5,300, a new unprecedented range that we've achieved directly due to the geometry. So once again, that geometry and MOI go hand in hand.
This club is also extremely hard to work with and was extremely hard to manufacture. As you can see, we have multi-materials. This is the first time we've incorporated a carbon crown, which we were forced to do in order to get the geometry and the shape and the sizing that we wanted, needed to use to get the MOI we were looking for.
It also has a high end data titanium face and then the traditional titanium body.
STAN GRISSINGER: Rick has been in the business about 12 years in making clubs, and I would say in terms of complexity, where would you rate this club in terms of difficulty to make?
RICK WALEEN: This club is about an 11 on the scale of 1 to 10 as far as difficulty to get it to hold together, to get it to perform right, to get the shaping of it down and to be able to manufacture it. It was a real challenge for our team to go out and produce it, but we got it done and have great results thus far.
Why does this work? I talked a little bit earlier about these building blocks, about the geometry, about inertia, about stability. Well, these are three points that you can take away from the product line. The super moment of inertia, that 5,300 range, allows this club to be the most stable club out there, giving the golfer confidence to hit the ball straight and long. It also gives them the confidence if they get off a little bit longer from the center of the face, the ball is going to stay true and land in the fairway.
Another feature that we have is what we call the power bolt, and that is just a visible technology detail in geometry. It goes hand in hand with inertia. That shape and that high inertia are no secret, and they go together, the mathematical physics principles. So the shape, the visible technology of the thing should give the golfer confidence that he's going to have a long shot and a stable shot.
And then the last thing, which we don't want to override or overshadow with the MOI is the max back CG. This club as you've heard over the years with many products has the farthest back CG that we've ever produced. That yields a high launch, low spin condition.
So once again, this club is all about performance. Stability, straight, accurate, long and high launch, low spin; everything about it is geared to performance.
This is a little chart that we have to kind of give you a visualization of how we were able to achieve that. If you can envision in the green, that's what we would term a generic or traditional 460 cc driver with an MOI of around 4,000. Because of the geometry and the way that we were able to place some of the center of gravity -- or the geometry behind the center of gravity, this new radical geometry of the square in the SQ, we were able to produce a 5,300 MOI, once again giving you stability.
This is a chart that we're really proud of. I think it shows the leadership that Nike has taken in this category. As you can see, some of our previous products going from Ignite on up through SQ and Sumo and Sumo2, we have challenged ourselves in the way that our R & D department and Nike in general works, challenged ourselves to improve. This product as we've been able to come up with new materials, new design, new manufacturing methods, we've been able to use the geometry that we feel -- the geometry story that we feel we own, and as you can see the slope is pretty impressive.
This is another fun chart that I like to look at here and I'm very proud of. If you look at the far three product bars on the end of this graph, those are all owned by Nike. Geometry is allotted to own the MOI story. We pioneered it. If you look at our competitors that are back there in the marketplace now, we're the ones that pioneered this with geometry to go after the MOI that we've been searching for.
It's interesting, this goes hand in hand if you look at the last three bars again, it goes hand in hand a little bit with some of the discussions with the USGA regarding MOI. At one point it was going to be 4,750 was the proposed limit, and as you see the 4,650 would be something that would be legal there. Well, through discussion, in no small part due to Nike Golf, Bob Wood and Tom Stites and the USGA, the new limit is now 5,900 grams per centimeter squared, and you can see the trend and we've been able to continue with that design, and it opened up a box a little bit for us.
STAN GRISSINGER: So what we're going to do is change gears a little bit and go from Sumo2 into the Sumo line. Sumo2 represents the most premium price point driver that we offer, represents roughly about a third of the marketplace. When we move into this area where the Sumo occupies, the mid price point, this represents about half the drivers sold in the marketplace today, so it's definitely a critical part of the line.
RICK WALEEN: I hate to consider this as the little brother to the Sumo2 because this product is awesome. It's going to be very well accepted. If you look at what we've done with the SQ product line out there and the way it's been accepted it on the Tour and also in the marketplace, this is just an SQ product on steroids. It has a little bit more geometry, which has given us the MOI we're talking about. For an all-titanium driver we've reached the pinnacle of 4,950 with stability, versus a 4,650 on the SQ, which was already a leader in the class at that time frame.
So we own the MOI story. This product will look very familiar to people that are used to the current big size of the SQ. There's a new power bolt with a little bit more of a swept back in it to allow us to drop the center of gravity down and back, which again is all geared toward performance, high launch, low spin, stable, all the three key ingredients to allow confidence on the tee box for golfers, and the max back CG, which gets you the high launch, low spin.
This is a little picture that dictates or details the difference between the current SQ, which you can kind of envision in the gray area, and what we've done to lower the center of gravity and bring it back a little bit. You can see the swoop in the back end of the power bolt. We've enhanced that to tweak this a little bit more and squeeze out a little bit more performance and MOIs of 5,950.
The chart data again shows the leadership we've taken in all-titanium category, Ignite, SQ and now Sumo, and again, you can see the trend with the MOI at the 4,950.
This is a chart again that we showed a little bit earlier, but I wanted to highlight it. Not only do we compete with products that are in the all-titanium category and even some of these that are composite-based, but we again own that upper echelon or that upper region of the MOI, giving us the stability coupled with the high launch, low spin of the center of gravity giving us a really high, well-performing driver.
The proof is always in the pudding, and one of the things that we're charged with in Fort Worth with Tom Stites is to not only make products that sell well in the marketplace but they have to perform on Tour. Bob mentioned earlier that we have the most wins with the driver this year, something we're very proud of and very excited about.
Well, we were able to go out -- I had the opportunity to go to the Disney tournament in October. I worked with a number of the players, K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman, Carl Pettersson, some of the guys, the first time they were able to see this product.
And K.J., being the person that he is and the excitedness that he gets towards new products, immediately gravitated to this thing. Within the first couple of shots I had a pretty good feel that he was going to be wanting to play this driver. I worked with him for a couple days, he played with it that tournament and has struggled this year without any wins.
The very next week, hopefully due to some of the excitement and the accuracy, and there was a lot of talk on TV about the way he was driving and placing his shots, he was able to go out and win his first tournament of the year with the Sumo2 driver.
So you heard it first; we were first with the geometry story, we were first with the win on the Tour with our new driver here, so something very exciting and that I'm very proud of for Nike Golf.
And then recently, I'm not sure if you're all aware of, but Jason Gore at the ADT Skins Challenge played our Sumo product, and went out and he won the long drive portion of the skills challenge there. So we are already getting early validation from the Tour group with the product out there, and I think we're shaping up for another great year. There's a lot of excitement within Nike, and we know we have a new winner here.
STAN GRISSINGER: That wraps up the product portion of our presentation. Rick and myself will be around to answer more questions and get into more detail and stuff.
But I think based on sort of this view that you sort of just got, you can truly see that quite literally the new driver is the shape of things to come. And with that, I'd like to bring Cindy Davis back up.
CINDY DAVIS: I will add, thanks to both Rick and Stan because some of you were expecting Tom Stites. He was on his annual hunting trip somewhere in the wild of northwest Canada and got snowed in, so those guys filled in. Rumor has it Tom looks a little bit like a SasQuatch right now. He is hooking up with us in Phoenix after this delay.
How do you adequately introduce this next person? You all know him, you write about him, he's already been covered in the history books of golf, and we're all watching him make history every day that he tees it up.
In 1996 Tiger Woods turned professional and signed with Nike Golf, and it's at that time that we embarked upon the journey I think all of us did in watching him change the face of golf. And at the heart of it all, through the charisma, the excitement, the energy, the wins, I think there's one things that draws us all back to Tiger, and that's his amazing athleticism. Take a look. (Video played.) I love watching that piece. I call that poetry in motion. That is beautiful. I am pleased to welcome Tiger Woods.
Welcome. Thank you for being here. I'm going to ask Tiger just a few questions to kind of get the ball rolling, and then we'll open it up to all of you to ask questions, and again, any business questions that you want to ask Bob or any of the Nike crew, we'll do that outside there, okay? So no Stuart Scott or Kelly Tilghman, you've got me.
Thinking about this year, two major championships, eight wins on the PGA TOUR, nine if you add that Grand Slam you just won --
TIGER WOODS: Well, Dubai, too.
CINDY DAVIS: Well, PGA TOUR. Really an incredible season, world No. 1. Tell us about the season from your perspective.
TIGER WOODS: Well, golf-wise it was probably one of the best I've ever had. Overall consistency, the way I played this year, including the U.S. Open, my missed cut there, I really have had a nice little run, basically since the Western Open. I had a nice little run of top three finishes since Augusta. It's been a very consistent year, one of the most consistent years I think I've ever had.
CINDY DAVIS: As far as being with the Nike Golf family, you've been with us now ten years and recently renewed your relationship with a multi-year deal with us. Maybe from your perspective share with this group how you think Nike Golf has evolved and how we're different than other golf companies.
TIGER WOODS: Evolved. Well, back when I first started, I think we had a red shirt, a yellow shirt, a blue shirt, a white shirt and a black shirt. We didn't really have a lot, and we weren't into golf clubs, we weren't in the ball business. I mean, we've come so far so quickly. To be a little bit part of that process has been a lot of fun.
My learning curve with golf clubs has gone up exponentially by being a part of learning how to make golf clubs and trying to communicate what I feel in a golf club to help Nike make a better golf club for the average consumer, and I think that's been a lot of fun, as well, especially with the golf ball.
That's everything to me, to be able to create something basically from nothing and see it flying in the air. Basically it's a dream come true for a golfer.
CINDY DAVIS: I don't know if people here realize how much you really work with our team. Even our apparel group, you've been working with some of the folks there?
TIGER WOODS: I've been working with different fabrics to try to get fabric that actually works for you and not against you. That's one of the things that as a player you want -- you don't want to be distracted by what you have on. You want it to actually enhance your ability to play. Just like what Lance does with tunnel testing and all these different kinds of things, it happens in golf, as well. You need to have a product that actually enhances your performance. You may say that's ludicrous in golf, but actually it's true. You can make that happen, and we're making it happen now.
CINDY DAVIS: Today we're here to introduce our Sumo2 and Sumo drivers, and I think certainly the performance you've had this year, it's always tough to switch equipment, but why don't you just give the folks here some perspective on that product and how you've been working with that product.
TIGER WOODS: I've tested it, and I haven't quite found the launch conditions that work best for me yet. The drivers that I've tested launched a little bit too high. I happened to hit it further, which was nice, but I haven't quite got the ball flight that I'm looking for yet. I'm sure it'll happen working with the guys over here, that they'll make it happen.
The driver I was using this year has been very helpful. It's worked all right. I'm not going to put something in the bag unless it's better than what I have.
CINDY DAVIS: We'll get a chance to see you hit those out here in a minute. I'm going to open it up to any folks out there who want to ask Tiger some questions.

Q. I have a question about how your equipment helps you play better when the heat is on. When you are on the tee and you have to either split a fairway or you have to hit it a little farther, does it help you to know that you have the best possible piece of equipment in your hand? And the second part of the question is will the average golfer out there get that kind of confidence and that kind of certainty standing over the shot when they have a Sumo in their hands?
TIGER WOODS: Well, speaking from my point of view, yeah, absolutely. It's all great and fun and games when you can hit it on the range and you can hit it further and you can hit it straighter, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. When it counts the most is whether you can do it on the back nine on Sunday in a major championship. Is it performing, is it hitting shots that you need to hit right now, and the answer to that question is yes; that's why it's in the bag.
That's the confidence that I have in the team here at Nike that build products like that, or else I don't put it in the bag. It's just very simple.
You know, that's one of the neat things about being able to work with the team that we have is that I'm able to find something that will help me on the back nine Sunday of a major championship, ultimately win golf's biggest prizes.
For the average consumer, they can look at it and see and take the confidence in what I have, and obviously once they test it and once they get a feel of that product, with the new Sumo and Sumo2, the MOI is better than what I have now. You hit it further, hit it higher, you gain more distance, and the geometry of it works better than what I've been using. For the average consumer they're going to hit the ball distances they've never hit it before and hit it straighter. So that's a pretty good combo.

Q. In the ten years that you've been out on Tour, which has gotten better, you or equipment?
TIGER WOODS: My game has improved certainly. My understanding of how to play the game has improved leaps and bounds. But I think equipment, when I played -- when I beat Davis Love in a playoff to win my first event in Las Vegas, he was using a persimmon driver.
Times have changed a little bit. Wound balls was the only thing available, and you wanted to hit it further, you had to go to a Surlyn ball.
Well, now we're getting the distance of a Surlyn and the control of a balata and the control and the feel of a balata ball. So we've got the best possible scenario that we ever could have dreamed of happening with the golf balls now.
Obviously drivers have changed dramatically, the head sizes, the cc's in the driver have gone up tremendously, and on top of that, the average length of shaft has changed. When I first turned pro every was using a 431/2 inch driver. Most of the guys were using graphite, but I'd say a lot of the guys were also using steel. The average length now is 45-plus on Tour now. You've added an extra inch and a half to a standard driver, gone to a bigger head, hotter faces, hotter golf balls, and you've seen the driver just increase dramatically.
Consequently, you look at the scores on the Tour, who would have ever dreamt of a cut in a four-round golf tournament being at 6-under par? That never happened back when I first turned, but that's happening now.

Q. Golfers are traditionalists. What was your initial reaction when you saw the square driver or heard about a square driver, and what's the reaction on Tour been?
TIGER WOODS: My initial reaction? I laughed because it is funny looking. There's no doubt about that. But you apply the physics behind it, and all of a sudden you hit the ball straighter, and it's like, oh, here we go. That's the neat thing about it. You do hit the ball a lot straighter.
The drivers I've tested I'm hitting further. I just haven't quite got the launch conditions exactly dialed in yet. So from that standpoint -- I was shocked that something that looks like that could actually hit the ball that far and perform the way it does.
It is so stable through impact when you make contact; that's the thing that surprises you, how stable it is. And as a player, I'm able to mis-hit a golf ball on purpose on the heel or toe and get a feel for it, and it's amazing how stable it is going through impact. You don't get the wobble effect that you get with a lot of drivers.

Q. We live in an era of pro sports where we see athletes jump from team to team, company to company, endorsement to endorsement. You've been with Nike for over ten years. What is it about Nike that gives you the confidence and your steadfastness in terms of your commitment to Nike?
TIGER WOODS: It starts from the top and it works its way down through the entire company. You look at the drive and the motivation and the passion that Phil Knight has, and it sprinkles itself -- his personality is throughout the entire company. You begin to understand why each and every different business under Nike, why everybody is so motivated and has such a great time doing it, because it starts from the top. Phil leads by example.
Our team here at Nike Golf, we've had just the greatest time in the world creating product and pushing the envelope. That's what Phil did with shoes, and look where we are with the shoe business. Look where we are with the golf business. We started with a very small part of the golf business, and now we're one of the leaders in the golfing business.
So from that standpoint, it starts from the top, worked its way down, and when you have a leader like that, everyone is excited to work for you.

Q. Could you walk us through the process of how you go about changing drivers?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's done through testing, numerous testing. You bring the guys like Rick Nichols to come down and we'll have a bunch of drivers for me to hit and try and get it dialed in with launch monitors, launch conditions, my spin rate. Then I'll start hitting shots, not just a standard golf shot but start hitting shots I would hit in competition, low fade, high fade, low draw, high draw, taking something off of it, hitting it low and straight, whatever it may be, I'll start working the golf ball and see what the conditions do, and is it performing better than mine. If it is, then it's in the bag.

Q. Do you have to hit it a certain amount of times where you see it performing better than your previous driver?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, for me I don't just pick up a driver, hit it on the range under launch conditions and say it's in the bag immediately. Then I'll do a testing process on my own at home, go out and play, hit tons of shots off tees, working golf balls, seeing flights that I need to shape into the fairway either way and see what it does. Hopefully the wind is blowing, hit different shots and see what the golf ball does.
If this driver is able to produce the flights that I'm looking for -- you get surprised when you make a swing and it's not in the sky where you're expecting it to be. Well, if it is and it's actually doing better than it was, than the previous driver, then we have something. That's when it's really exciting, when you're able to put something like that in the bag.

Q. We all can talk about in your evolution as a golfer the changes that you are making with your game. Is there a direct correlation between the changes in your game and the innovation of Nike Golf through the last five years or so?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, without a doubt. I'm working with the team as far as the drivers, as far as my irons, my wedges and the golf ball. It's been a pretty good winning combination, and it's been fun to -- it was a lot of hard work. It was a lot of hard work on the entire staff at Nike to build something because I am a bit picky because this is what I do. I want something that is going to perform better than what I have.
I push them to continue to make product that's better than what we're using, and that's what's fun. It's a fun give-and-take because the knowledge that I learn from the process enables me to communicate at a better level down the road, so we're able to make a better product faster. I think that's been the great thing about the give-and-take relationship that we both have been able to share.

Q. How much did you know about MOI before you joined Nike and the making of these clubs, and how much has this helped your game to know every aspect about your club and how it's made?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely zero; I didn't know any of it. All I did was pick up a club and I hit it and I said it goes too high, it has too much spin. Why? I don't know, it just does. Well, then you explain physics behind it and then you start getting really interested, and when you start being able to tinker around with things because as a kid all you did was move lead tape around and that was the way to change things on a club. You had to try and create a club that hopefully might work better for you. It didn't always work out that way, but you tried to.
Like I built sets from five, six, seven different manufacturers, but it's all feel. You hit shots, hit shots, okay, put lead here, put lead there. All of a sudden you start seeing ball flights the way you like it but everything is all messed up. But now with the computer technology and the things that they're able to produce, that can be done in five minutes.
But it's still -- as a player, how does that club go through the ground, how does it feel, how does it feel in your arms and in your heart and soul? These are things that only a player can try and articulate to the designers. They can give you a product that says this is superior, but hey, this is what I'm feeling, this is how I think we can make it better, and I think that's where our relationship because it's such a give-and-take relationship has really worked and really blossomed, and I think that's why the average -- well, the consumer and average golfer out there is now being presented better product because I think as a whole, all of our players, our staff players, have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the game of golf, and now we're able to articulate it in a player sense. Our staff is able to articulate it into a mathematical sense, and we are able to marry up the two and we're doing some pretty extraordinary things.

Q. We've all heard stories about your almost superhuman sensitivity to your equipment, how you can hit a driver and the lab guys think it's one weight and you swing it and say, oh, it might be one or two grams more than what you said.
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say it's one or two grams more or less, I would say it's lighter or heavier.

Q. Any good stories, anything like that happen with the Sumo where you kind of told them something that even the Nike -- the machine didn't tell them?
TIGER WOODS: Not yet, not about the Sumo. The ones I've tested were protos, and that's when I launched them too high to we had to rework it. I'm excited about the next testing session we've got coming up.

Q. You've been playing with a Scotty Cameron for ten years. The putter you're using, the Scotty Cameron, what seems to be the hesitancy? Is it because Nike cannot produce a putter that meets your needs, or are you just superstitious?
TIGER WOODS: I've used this putter since the Byron Nelson of '99 when I first put it in, and I had grown up with an Answer Two, and that was my putter of choice, and I had Scotty do a one-off and he made this putter.
Well, I've had success since then. The curious thing is that even Scotty hasn't produced a backup yet. I don't have a backup. He's made me 50 putters or so, but none of them feel like this one. There's something different about this one.
Nike has been trying to make a putter as my backup, and I carry one as my backup, a putter made by Nike. But this putter has won 11 major championships, so it's kind of hard to take out of the bag.
CINDY DAVIS: We are going to take this actually to the runway and watch you hit some Sumo2 and Sumo products, so let's do it.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297