Stanley, Watney sign with Nike Golf

by   |   January 1, 2013
Nike

PGA Tour standouts Kyle Stanley and Nick Watney have entered into a multi-year agreement with Nike Golf, according to company press releases.

Both players signed deals that includes clubs, balls, footwear, glove, apparel, headwear and accessories.

“I love the equipment, Stanley said. “I wouldn’t have switched if I didn’t think it was stuff that would take me to the next level.”

Stanley, 25, previously played Titleist equipment. He was the winner of the 2012 Waste Management Pheonix Open, and is one of the PGA Tour’s brightest young stars, earning more than $2.3 million dollars in 2012 and finishing 31st in the Tour’s FedExCup. He will make his tournament debut this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Stanley said the hardest equipment change for him will be his putter. He played a 2012 schedule that finished at the Australian Open in early December, limiting his practice time with a Method prototype putter that Nike made him. He’s excited about Nike’s VR_S Covert driver and 20XI X golf ball, a combination that he said has given him a 5-mph increase in ball speed, a change that can result in as much as 10 to 20 more yards off the tee.

“I’ve always been a high speed player,” Stanley said. “The ball has a little bit of a harder cover and doesn’t spin as much, which will allow me to be more aggressive with my irons”

Stanley said he feels very comfortable with the equipment changes. In 2013, he hopes to get back in the winner’s circle and take “the next step” — contending in major championships.

Here’s a list of what Stanley plans to play this week in Hawaii:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert — 9.5 degrees, set in neutral

3 Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition — 15 degrees

Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo 2 iron, VR Pro Blades 3 through 9 iron

Wedges: Nike Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree wedges

Ball: Nike 20XI X

Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance

Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II

Stanley attended Clemson University, where he broke 19 school golf records. He was the first player to earn both ACC Player of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year, and was a three-time first team All-ACC and two-time first-team All-America Selection. He won the Ben Hogan Award, which is given to the top collegiate golfer in the United States, and was also a member of the winning 2007 Walker Cup team.

“Kyle is a solid player with incredible talent,” said Mark Thaxton, global director of sports marketing operations at Nike Golf.  “He’s a terrific ball striker with incredible confidence. We know Kyle will shine as a Nike Golf athlete and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Nike family.”

Nick Watney, 31, has won five times on the PGA Tour, most recently at The Barclays in late August and at the CIMB Asia Open in late October. He is currently ranked No. 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings, earning more the $3 million on the PGA Tour in 2012.

Watney said he decided to join Nike Golf because he was pleased with the direction the company is headed. He said he’s also looking forward to being on the same staff with Tiger Woods, and is looking forward to picking his brain.

“Nike Golf is making huge strides and have shown a dedication to move forward with all their stuff,” Watney said.

Like Stanley, Watney moves over from Titleist, and will make his debut as a Nike athlete at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week. Watney said he is not a “launch monitor guy,” so he wasn’t able to provide data on the performance of his new equipment. But he said he likes the feel and sound of his equipment, particularly his 11.5-degree VR_S Covert driver.

“It looks like nothing else out there, but it feels very stable and sounds like a classic driver,” Watney said.

Watney called his 20XI golf ball “very consistent,” and said the transition from his Titleist AP2 irons to Nike’s Pro Combo irons will be his easiest equipment change.

“I’ve heard all the stories about guys changing equipment, and from my testing over the last couple months, I really feel like it’s not going to be as hard as I expected,” he said. “The guys down at The Oven are very equipped.”

Watney will be using Nike wedges, which aside from the stampings honoring his hometown baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, are almost the same as his Vokey models. He said the Nike Method Prototype putter he will use is the same as his Scotty Cameron putter in every way, with the exception of the Method groove technology on the putter face, and that it feels very similar to his old putter.

Even though Watney won two tournaments in 2012, he said the first half of the season was “not what I was looking for.”

“I’d also like to get off to a better start this year,” Watney said. “As golfers, we’re all judged on winning. I’d like to get into contention as much as I can and win as much as I can.”

Here’s a breakdown on what will be in his bag this week:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert — 11.5 degrees, neutral position

Fairway Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood — 14-degrees, Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood — 18 degrees

Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo 3 through PW

Wedges: Nike VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree wedges

Putter: Nike Method Prototype

Ball: Nike 20XI

Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection

Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II

Click here to see what people are saying in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum. 

About

Zak is the Managing Editor of GolfWRX.com. He and his team cover golf's most important stories. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz.


32 Comments

  1. Primo

    January 11, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I’m loyal to Mizuno irons and switch between TM and Callaway woods. I am not a Nike fan and their shoes are sometimes stylish but don’t last. With that said, I spent the better part of a day swinging unmarked/masked clubs during a fitting. I reluctantly but honestly will state I had Nike products in the top 3 of every category. The masking eliminated some of the bias (I know a Ping, callaway, TM, Mizuno more or less without having to see the label). The weren’t the best according to the launch monitor for me, but weren’t far off. The pro felt mizuno and ping have the best production quality, but Nike has the most money and is going crazy with R&D and hiring top designers and engineers.

  2. Judy Felton

    January 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Such promising stars. They made the right decision in signing contracts for Nike because it is a very popular brand that can provide them with the gears and equipment they need to pursue their dream of going to the top.

  3. Danny

    January 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Nike has to spend billions for the weekend golfers who don’t know anything about great equipment. Fact is that most of these guys play Titleist by choice until Nike pays them to use their garbage. Titleist is one of only a few brands that guys play even when they are paid by another company.

  4. old school harry

    January 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Hey, “no love”, ever heard about those new machines that adjust loft and lie? He tweeks the gaps so he can dump an iron and pick up a scoring wedge. Pretty common, how else do you think Zach Johnson can hit a 180 yd. 7 iron in Florida during March?

  5. pinhigh18

    January 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    With Nike (well many of the other OEMs as well, but maybe more so with Nike), it seems to me that there is a huge gap between their product lineup between what their pros use and what we see a lot of on the store shelves. I agree with Hipper above, I see something from Nike as a giveaway and it doesn’t get my pulse going at all because it is nothing like the pro lineup. Enjoyed everyone’s input, but for some reason, I kind of hate to see the Titleist stable moving to Nike.

  6. Nate

    January 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    What is with all the hate for Nike? I wonder how many people that say how bad their product line is have even swung a Nike anything! I ditched my Titleist irons and driver because the Nike VR line is just better. The TW blades are unreal and VR Pro LE driver is a beast and so easy to hit. My AP irons were numb and the 910 D3 was just a dud. Worst $1500.00 dollars I’ve spent in my life. Bring on the hate, but if the Titleist stuff was better, I’d still be playing them and wouldn’t have spent the money to switch clubs.

  7. Hipper

    January 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Funny to read how the Nike product is so close to what both of these players played before. Maybe, someday Nike can produce quality products that players can use without getting big dollars for using. Nike is the King of Tee Prizes at Pro-Ams. Why? The stuff doesn’t sell and that is how Nike dumps their product. I play in many pro-ams on LPGA and Web.Com tours and Nike is always available. I have asked why to many tournament directors, and the answer is always the same…..Nike’s stuff is so cheap we can make it look like we are offing a great Tee Prize!

  8. Ron Faldo

    January 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Do people really think that with all of the money and resources Nike has that at this point in the game they will put out inferior equipment? Rory changed and tweaked his new weapons in a day. It’s the amateurs and the hackers that try a new driver or irons and in 2 rounds say “oh these are garbage I can’t hit these” As a teaching professional and 2 handicap I se this everyday. I played Hogan blades, then Titleist, went back to Hogans because they were more precise and now to the Nike VR Pro blades because of the technology and feedback. I have already hit the Covert and it is solid. Nike will be the winningest brand on tour this year and oh yeah….Schwartzel back to back by more than 10 shots…….

  9. Greg

    January 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    With these kind of deals, it is not about the equipment regardless of what the players say. It is a money deal only, as it always is when players go to Nike. Nobody goes there because of the quality of the equipment – they go there in spite of the equipment. The switch occurs because of the mountain of cash Nile puts on the table. It is all about marketing with that company.

  10. Cesar

    January 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Whether a fan or not for the big swoosh, you have to give it to them. They have marketed extremely well and have taken a huge leap of faith into the golfing industry and have been extremely successful in doing so. Just like a current Nike player by the name of Tiger changed the golfing tour and paychecks some of these guys get, they are also changing the way other companies go about getting new and improved products out for its consumers. Like them or hate them, you have to love the fact that they are pushing your favorite golf gear company to keep up with all the technology out there, giving you the best available items out there.

  11. Huge

    January 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    NIKE is certainly starting to do waht they said they would do…can’t wait to get my hands on the new COVERT driver…and yes I would take it even if I had to pay for it!

  12. luke keefner

    January 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Didn.t Nike start out as a sneaker company? My son and I have had several pairs of Nike golf shoes and they have all self destructed during the second season. My Foot Joys are the most comfortable shoes I own and they are still going strong after 4 years

  13. luke keefner

    January 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I always thought the Nike “swoosh” looked like a check. As in big paycheck. Won’t be no tinky sounding Nike driver in my bag. Nope

  14. Mike

    January 2, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I dont see Rory picking up the latest Covert driver. Guess the VR gear is not that bad after all. However I will mot buy into Nike. Titleist will remain the best OEM

  15. G

    January 2, 2013 at 12:53 am

    But in return, who did Titleist pick up? Titty must have picked up some players too, I bet.

    • Trey

      January 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      They lost Stanley, Watney, Woodland, and Rory. Also failed to pick up Ryo. Tough offseason for Titleist.

  16. Dtowngolf

    January 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

    A 11.5 degree driver, must be one of the lowest spinning shafts on tour. Seems like a lot of loft for a tour player

    • ph84

      January 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      11.5 is nothing. guys out there have used 12, 13 deg drivers. all about high launch and low spin

  17. tim

    January 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    great move for the swoosh!!!!! nike will hold 3 of 4 majors if not all in 2013!!!! been loyal nike player for 6 years now….gets better every year

  18. Gerald

    January 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Titleist: the new Wilson!

  19. nick

    January 1, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Whatever Mike, you’d take that nike equipment for any deal if they gave it to you.

  20. Mike

    January 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Don’t care how many players Nike will sign over next years. Non of this gear will go in my bag. Non of this red painted drivers nonsense for me thanks very much – won’t take it for free.

  21. Brandell

    January 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Kris… Are you suggesting that he looked any better before? Lol. At least now he can wear some colorfull trending apparel and not just plain white or black from Boss. Smart move by the “SWOOSH”to sign these guys. I think Nike will own the golf industry before you realize it. Product looks amazing.

    • kris

      January 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      I am just a loyal titleist player and hate to see them losing all their stars

  22. kris

    January 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Good for Kyle, Wish Nick would have stayed with Titleist, looking kinda dorky in the NIke SWOOSH

    • Rob

      January 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      +1

  23. Wojtu?

    January 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    last year Kyle Stanley had iron set 4-9
    so it is little bit surprising
    and he had 13.5* 3 wood and now he will have 15*
    will see how it work for him

  24. BMoooooore

    January 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Man Titleist lost a bunch of horses this year to NIKE. I will be interested to see the adjustment to new equipment and how that goes. Probably brought over their titleist stuff to NIKE and said copy that exactly and I am in.

  25. No Love

    January 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

    3-9? No love for the pitching wedge? Is Nike gonna make him a 48*?

    • 14 club rule

      January 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      He is looking to carry a 2 iron and 3 wedges… no room for the PW unless he ditches his putter…. 14 is the golden number.

  26. chris

    January 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Not crazy about his swing…time will tell if this is a good deal for Nike.

    • Trey

      January 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Which swing aren’t you crazy about? Tough to decide which one of these two guys have a swing that you can’t love…

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