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Tiger says he played a Bridgestone golf ball for “a number of years”

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File Tiger Woods confirming a long-time industry rumor under things you didn’t expect to happen at the beginning of 2017.

In what could mostly be described as a State of the Union, Tiger Woods posted a 1,500-word blog post to his website on Thursday where he discussed a wide range of topics, including battling the flu over Thanksgiving, playing golf with Donald Trump, his performance at the Hero World Challenge, golf course design philosophy, and even his take on injuries in the NFL.

Read the post in its entirety here.

But for GolfWRXers, the most interesting insights came from his discussions about equipment.

Along with saying he’s still tinkering with “ball-wood” combinations — he played a TaylorMade M2 driver and TaylorMade M1 fairway woods at the Hero — Woods also implied that he used to play a Nike golf ball that was made by Bridgestone.

“What people don’t realize is that Bridgestone made the Nike golf ball for a number of years,” Woods said. “It’s a great ball and making the switch wasn’t that hard.”

As the face of Nike golf for years, this confirms the hunches that those in the know in the golf industry (here’s a forum thread from 2008 discussing the topic) had about Nike golf balls; at least during the company’s early days in the golf ball market. This certainly could explain Woods’ new golf ball deal with Bridgestone, and his decision to put the B330S golf ball into play for his return to competitive golf.

Of course, Nike isn’t the first golf equipment company to outsource the production of golf balls. But it’s interesting that Woods chose to publicize that information.

Woods has also confirmed that he’ll be playing in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Honda Classic, the Genesis Open and the Dubai Desert Classic, and we’ll be closely following his equipment changes throughout the season.

Related: Tiger Woods WITB 2017

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. James Awad

    Jun 12, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Worst kept industry ‘secret’ – like forever.

    And folks still think a company with the highest defective shoe returns, mismatched sleeve & collars on their premier shirts – actually built a foundry & learned to forge irons?!?!

  2. David Hammond

    May 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    NIKE (or other major OEM, insert name here) designs golf gear.
    A factory, usually not in the USA, makes all or parts.
    NIKE literally MAKES nothing nada never. They are a promotional management firm only. If not for a Tiger-level player they probably would never have entered golf gear because it is a tough market to pierce. That is proven by their exit.
    Infidelity is not linked to golf gear.

  3. JR

    Jan 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    So Tiger “played a Bridgestone ball for a number of years”? No wonder he’s off his game. I usually only play the same ball for a couple of rounds.

  4. Rich Douglas

    Jan 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Here’s a crazy idea: play the equipment that is best for you regardless of celebrity endorsement. If a player influences you away from what’s best for you then you’re more interested in identity over playing your best golf.

  5. Chuck

    Jan 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t think it is true for Tiger to say that he’s been playing Bridgestone balls “for years,” any more than it was true for Tiger to say that all of his Nike equipment was chosen by him because it was the best, and he could play anything he wanted if it performed for him.

    In a matter of weeks after being relieved of a contractual duty to promote Nike equipment, he’s gone back to his old Cameron putter and 2016 TM M-series woods. Tiger had an all-Nike bag, because that is what he was paid for.

    If a golf ball is designed and formulated by Rock Iishi, working for Nike, and gets manufactured under a contract with Bridgestone, and is otherwise unlike any other marketed Bridgestone ball, it’s cute (and clever, in a Tiger Woods-deceptive sort of way) but it’s not a Bridgestone ball.

    • St

      Jan 7, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      But that’s not what he’s saying. So why don’t u have a nice cup of STFU

      • Chuck

        Jan 8, 2017 at 1:06 am

        To be precise, THIS is what Tiger’s blog post stated:

        “I’m still testing clubs and trying to find the best ball-wood combo. What people don’t realize is that Bridgestone made the Nike golf ball for a number of years. It’s a great ball and making the switch wasn’t that hard. I’m really excited to join the Bridgestone team. For now, I’ll probably stick with some of my old Nike equipment, and use my Scotty Cameron putter. I’m also proud to be working with Monster and look forward to the things we’ll do together.”

        Okay. So “for a number of years,” Bridgestone manufactured the Nike golf ball. Of course they did. Rock Ishii came to Nike directly from Bridgestone. Nike was starting from zero in golf ball manufacture. I don’t doubt — never doubted — the truth of that.

        But then there is all of the talk about very, very special balls formulated specifically for Tiger by Nike/Ishii for basically all of the time since the Nike One came into being.

        http://www.si.com/vault/2005/03/28/8256146/#

        So…
        a) Was Tiger bs-ing for the sake of his big sponsor, when he was claiming that he could play any equipment he wanted, but Nike’s was all the best? And that for the last 15 years or so, his Nike golf balls have been carefully designed and tuned by Rock Ishii and the Nike staff? Or;

        b) Is Tiger bs-ing for the sake of his new big sponsor, when he claims that his Nike golf balls were really Bridgestones? Or;

        c) Is Tiger perpetually clever with his words, always helping out his sponsor of the moment and saying whatever he can get away with, with plausible deniability, to say something that sounds remarkably clever and informative in favor of the sponsor of the moment? Or;

        d) All of the above.

  6. 1badbadger

    Jan 6, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    He’s not a fraud and didn’t lie about what golf ball he was playing…Nike outsources all their products. They don’t make anything…not even athletic shoes. They are a marketing company. They don’t own any production facilities. They did have a team that DESIGNED their golf balls, and Bridgestone simply MANUFACTURED them to their specs. Nike balls, just made in Bridgestone’s plant.

  7. Chunkiebuck

    Jan 6, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    I’ll alert the media.

  8. TIm

    Jan 6, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Gee Maxfli, Dunlop Slazanger and some Wilson balls were all made in the same plant back in the 80’s 90’s….right here in the good old USA. John Daly played a Dunlop ball made in South Carolina for awhile and won with it in San Diego. Locco Pro urethane cover ball..then Addis (Taylormade) took over the plant and Dunlop and Slazanger sold off their names (DICK’S SPORTING GOODS) for use in USA. They kept Maxfli a short time then sold that off to Dick’s.

  9. Swizzle

    Jan 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Everyone wants to sound like the know more than the last guy. Like many of you I was aware of all this in early 2000’s. Seems it was a slow day at work for a lot of you!

  10. mikee

    Jan 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Just like Nike ice hockey skates…..Sergei Federov (at that time with the Detroit Redwings) was the “face” of Nike skates. He was using “rebranded” Bauer skates.

  11. Dave R

    Jan 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Folks it’s a golf ball that’s all. Relax move on .

  12. MrPoopoo

    Jan 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Speaking of golf balls… is anybody on Tour rocking the Kirkland Signature balls? That would be hilarious.

    • Bandrz

      Jan 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Yes, but they are known as Taylormade balls on Tour. Same factory.

      • TIm

        Jan 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        disagree, to the point it would not be the Taylormade tour balls they are made in South Carolina. Maybe the lower end Taylormade balls…

  13. birdie

    Jan 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    how or why? just because a ball is made by bridgestone doesn’t mean they performed exactly the same. there were intended differences.

    many companies design, engineer, and create product and use a competitor to actually manufacturer it. this isn’t new.

  14. Tazz2293

    Jan 6, 2017 at 9:58 am

    All the woods worshipers who played Nike were lied to by woods and got hornswoggled by Nike.

    • Dj

      Jan 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

      All of those “woods worshippers” people were also playing Bridgestone balls. Everyone here knows that Bridgestone made Nike’s initial balls until they started with RZN

  15. Bert

    Jan 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I think what is being said is players deceive golf fans with their endorsements. Endorsing a product knowingly it is really something else is deception in the name of making money. When a golfer takes such action they are not creditable. So take the head-cover off and let the golf fan, who’s really supporting you, know the equipment you actually play.

    • Orangeology

      Jan 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

      only if that deception—you called—was for a specific player’s equipment ‘only’. if the entire brand had a manufacturing deal with another company—where’s the case in between Nike & Bridgestone in the earlier days—then it’s different story, we guess?

    • Dj

      Jan 6, 2017 at 11:29 am

      The golf fans who bought Nike balls prior to their RZN tech were also buying Bridgestone manufactured balls. It wasn’t just tiger. Bridgestone manufactured all of Nike’s balls at retail, not just tigers

  16. Wayne J Bosley

    Jan 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    They were not the only company making balls for Nike and had stopped doing so a few years ago ,,,, I feel sorry for the other two companies that were doing a good job supplying in recent years that have had their Nike business evaporate without much notice.

    • Shallowface

      Jan 6, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Who were those “other two companies?”

    • 1badbadger

      Jan 7, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Initially, Bridgestone made all of Nike’s golf ball models. After a few years, they did start using other companies as well, but Bridgestone continued to manufacture some of their models.

  17. cgasucks

    Jan 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Earl was no saint either. He cheated on Tilda and there are rumors of Earl bringing in hookers to Tiger’s childhood home in California.

    • eric

      Jan 6, 2017 at 9:40 am

      i love the internet. a comment thread about a golf ball turns into claims about tiger’s dad and hookers.

      • Boobsy McKiss

        Jan 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

        Seriously. Some fools wait for any chance they can get to rip on tiger, probably trying in vein to subconsciously fill that empty void they have in their life. Like he’s the only professional golfer, athlete, or famous figure who ever cheated on their spouse. ROFL.

        • TIm

          Jan 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm

          Pretty simple this is a Golf site and Tiger Woods is the Best to ever play the game, not even close…so why not take shots at someone who plays the game you love better then you ever dreamed possible…

  18. Scott

    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Makes sense. I have never liked either ball.

  19. LOL

    Jan 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Why are you so angry, did he bang your aunt, mom, sister?

  20. Phil

    Jan 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    When will Tiger admit that his “Nike” irons were made by Miura?

    • Barry

      Jan 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Probably around the same time he puts a new set in the bag

    • R0B

      Jan 5, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      +1
      (you beat me to it)

    • Dj

      Jan 6, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Tigers Nike irons were never touched by Miura, genius

    • 1badbadger

      Jan 7, 2017 at 12:27 am

      In all fairness, none of the major OEMs own their own forging plant. Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway, Bridgestone, Srixon, etc all use factories overseas to produce their forgings.

  21. Dj

    Jan 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    This has been confirmed numerous times by Nike golf themselves so not sure how it’s considered a rumor

    • Eddie

      Jan 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      I think it was pretty widely known back when Nike first got in the golf ball business back when Bridgestone’s golf stuff was called Precept.

    • cgasucks

      Jan 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      I knew that when I started playing golf in 2000. It is well known that Bridgestone made Nike balls for a long time.

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Equipment

2021 Callaway Epic Speed Launch Day Report: Everything you need to know about the new equipment from Callaway

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It’s the official launch day of the all-new Callaway Epic Speed line of metal woods, which includes both driver and fairway wood models—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic LS. To summarize the newest releases, Callaway engineers are taking their artificial intelligence as far as they ever have by using it to optimize both the face and body of the driver to deliver forgiveness and distance increasing ball speed across the face like never before.

If are looking for in-depth information, on the ins and outs of the new designs and the technology that makes them possible, check out our full launch pieces below.

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown lighter with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.

Perspectives from the GolfWRX forums

  • bcflyguy1 – I’ve also found the Max head to be excellent when lofted down and weight pushed to the toe; becomes surprisingly neutral when configured as such. Obviously can see where many will prefer the more muted sound/feel and compact footprint of the Speed head or may need the greater fade bias from the Max LS and its Trip Diamond-ish shaping. However, the Max offers a VERY rare combination of tons or horsepower but with sufficient traction control to keep even me from figuratively wrapping it around a light pole.
  • noodle3873 – Just got back from hitting balls. My local Pro was breaking in his Epic LS 9° against his Mavrik SZ TD 9°. Both heads were built/hotmelted to the same weight. He was using GC Quad and brand new Srixon range balls (not ideal but numbers are like for like). On average he was getting more launch, more ball speed and a couple more yards out of the LS.
  • mtp –  I hit the whole lineup today. Not a fitting.  Just trying them out. Was using the HZRDUS Smoke Green. LS was best for me. Prefer the shape, sound and feel over my current Sim Max.
  • zeke66 – This thing is a beast. Hit it with a Paderson ballistic tp. I was swinging awful with all 3 drivers I was hitting including gamer, and wouldn’t leave the hitting bay until I started hitting it better. So I grabbed the Max Ls 9.0 and worked through it. Average ball speed was around 177 low 120’s with spin around 2100-2200, launch 12-15. When you catch one on the screws… it goes as good as anything I think.

More from the GolfWRX forums

GolfWRX’s resident equipment tester, Brian Knudson of the Club Junkie podcast, had this to say

Epic Max driver: A lot of draw bias, but easy to launch high and takes some right side out even with a neutral weight. Sound and feel are improved over Mavrik, much more muted and solid feeling. Center strikes are hot, and even misses carry some good ball speed.

Epic Speed driver: The best looking of the Epic drivers. Offers the most penetrating flight. Seems to be pretty low spin and easy to work the ball in either direction. Misses don’t stay online as well with more curvature. It is long and going to be a really good option for skilled players.

Epic Max LS driver: Very forgiving and offering a straighter flight than Max. Slightly lower trajectory as well. Toe misses hold their line better than the other two. Shots low on the face don’t get up as high as expected but still carry. Misses off-center still have good carry distance

Here’s what the biggest YouTube testers and reviews have to say on the newest Callaway Apex line

And on Instagram

 

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A post shared by Callaway Golf (@callawaygolf)

From the Twitterverse

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Best utility iron of 2021 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 2021 utility irons. WRXer ‘Krod10359’ kicks off the thread, saying:

“Just want to know your opinion on what new utility iron you have hit this year. Looks like a lot of solid offerings out right now from Ping, Srixon and Callaway. Let me hear what you have to say about these clubs.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • hypergolf: “This…(photo above)”
  • TigerInTheWoods: “Sim Udi is a beauty. Launches a bit higher and is a bit more forgiving than the P790 UDI which was really the benchmark for this kind of club.”
  • craz-e: “Hard to go past the Srixon for performance and value. The current offerings from Titleist (u500 & u501) and Mizuno (HMB) are also great options and worth trying.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “The new Callaway one is pretty good.”

Entire Thread: “Best utility iron of 2021”

Not yet a GolfWRX member? Sign up for FREE here.

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2021 Callaway Epic driver: Epic Speed, Epic Max & Epic LS drivers

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Callaway Golf introduces new Epic driver lineup for 2021—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers—giving us the best of everything.

When it comes to a hot face, Callaway Golf has been at the top of the heap since its introduction of Jailbreak Technology back in 2017. In simplest terms, Jailbreak allowed Callaway to vertically stiffen the face, which allows the face to absorb a ton of energy and release it right back into the golf ball.

When Epic hit the market, it was instantly the driver of that year due to its ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but most importantly for Callaway, it gave the company a strong foundation to build from for models to come.

In 2020, with the help of artificial intelligence, Callaway engineers were able push that idea a bit further with the successful Mavrik line. This time, artificial intelligence took Jailbreak and found ways to make it even more efficient with the addition of the Flash Face.

Now, in 2021, using every piece of tech at its disposal, Callaway officially launches the new 2021 Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers.

The new AI-designed, carbon-loaded, MOI machines are the culmination of now four iterations of Jailbreak technology, and in my opinion, Callaway has its fastest but more importantly—most golf-course friendly—driver ever.

Let’s dive in…

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver, Cyclone Aero Shaping

In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness not only vertically across the face but east and west as well. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway driver, face on

“Spin robustness” is another key term in the 2021 Callaway campaign. What this means for us is giving players spin where we need it (i.e. off the heel spin stays down, off the toe spin stays up, out of the middle the ball goes forever).

Another key aspect to notice across the line is the enhanced composite crown. The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver has a triaxial carbon crown that covers even more real estate allowing Callaway to redistribute 16 grams of discretionary weight. The larger carbon surface area also innately created a way for Callaway R&D to make the Epic Speed a bit more draw friendly without having to add external weight to the heel.

Callaway Epic Speed driver, address

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

Sole view of the new Callaway Epic Max driver

Yes, the new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Sliding weight

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Address

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Incorporating the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and Jailbreak technology, Callaway has created a new more forgiving profile in a players driver.

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.
Like Epic Max, LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
Inspired by the Triple Diamond tour heads of the past, Callaway decided to go away from cranking spin down to oblivion and offer a driver that was actually closer to what the tour leans towards. Yes, they love a low spin head, but not too low spin. The Triple Diamond heads were basically a Sub Zero shape in a higher MOI profile. If you go through our tour photos, you will see more Triple Diamonds than anything. Obliterating launch and spin sounds good for Trackman, but it’s hard to play that way on the golf course all the time.

Initial Tour Reaction

I had a chance to chat with  Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the early response and this is what he had to say.

JW: In early testing, what is the first thing players are seeing with Speed and LS?

JD: Early feedback from the tour guys has been a noticeable difference in an increase in ball speed across the face but more importantly the dispersion has tightened down range. Many guys have also quickly fallen in love with the sound of the new metal woods.

JW: What most excited you with the new line?

JD: We knew early on with this product launch that we had an exceptional driver. To start- the look of the heads and the shaping allows the clubs to sit beautifully at the address position. From there the overall feel and sound matches exactly what tour guys prefer. The guys we have worked with have converted into the new woods extremely quickly with very positive feedback. For us, we are excited to have some great starting lines, a competitive ball speed advantage, and an increase in forgiveness.

We are constantly studying what makes world class drivers of the golf ball world class. After much research, we determined the ideal spin/ degree of launch and worked closely with our R&D team to reach these numbers. We were absolutely amazed to see what they came back to us with. Using AI they were able to figure out how to increase the MOI in this line of drivers while also focusing on more ball speed. It truly is remarkable the new frontier of technology we are using in our drivers to help our players play their best golf.

Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Epic Flash (acoustics), and Mavrik was solid but didn’t blow me away. This new 2021 Callaway Epic line of drivers is exactly what players want: a golf club that is playable all while providing the distance and performance we have gotten used to over the past few years. It’s a new trend in the market that I’m loving. Drivers are becoming golf course friendly again. We tried to kill spin—when ultimately it was our best friend in the long run.

Specs

At Retail: 2/18

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees (Epic Speed) 9, 10.5 degrees(Epic Max & Epic Max LS)

Price: $529.99

Stock Shaft Offerings

  • Epic Speed Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g – S)
  • Epic MAX Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g -S)
  • Epic MAX LS: Mitsubishi MMT (60g – S,X. 70g – S,X)
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