There is plenty of speculation running around golf these days, fueling debates in grillrooms from Montauk Downs to Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Is Tom Watson going to give Tiger Woods a Ryder Cup captain’s pick? Does Rory McIlroy have a better chance of eclipsing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships than Tiger? And what is Fox Sports going to do next year with the U.S. Open?
But why should the feature writers have all the fun? Equipment is my main beat and I usually avoid conjecture, but after seeing some images that have recently surfaced in social media, I couldn’t help myself.
Rory McIlroy posted the following photo of his new Nike MMProto 2-iron on his personal Instagram account as he prepared to play the Scottish Open. The image’s caption reads, “A little something new this week. #mmproto”
After McIlroy won at Royal Liverpool, an image of several Nike MMProto 2-irons appeared on the company’s Instagram account, along with the following caption, “Before the Claret Jug made its way into Rory McIlroy’s hands, one of these 2 irons made its way into his bag. #mmproto”
Two days ago, Thorbjorn Olesen posted a shot of a complete set of MMProto blade irons from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
Nike has not officially said anything about the MMProto irons, but here’s what I think: There are at least two different MMProto irons and MMProto is the name of a new family of irons from Nike.
Take a good look at the photograph that Olesen posted, then the image of the Nike 2-irons the company supplied on the right.
There does not appear to be any gap in the back of Olesen’s irons, but the irons on the table clearly show a pocket that has been filled with either a polymer or some type of black material.
We cannot see a 2-iron in Olesen’s photo and I’ll admit that it is possible the 2-iron in the MMProto blade iron set is completely different than the rest of the clubs, but I think that’s highly unlikely.
Also, notice that Olesen’s irons have been stamped “Forged” on the hosel. The hosels are out of focus in image Nike supplied, but there does not appear to be any stamping or letters. The 2-iron in Rory McIlroy’s photo is also lacks a “Forged” on the hosel.
Sure, something could be etched into the hosel of the 2-irons on the hidden side and Rory might have used a prototype MMProto 2-iron club in his bag that simply wasn’t stamped. However, it’s also plausible that Nike might have created a set of forged blades for accomplished players and a set of cast, polymer-filled, pocket-cavity irons for players looking for a game improvement club. Nike’s current VR Forged Pro Combo iron set features polymer-filled, pocket-cavity long irons, so the company has a history of making such clubs.
If you like the look of Olesen’s irons, you can buy a set Monday. Nike has announced that 40 sets will be made available on Nike.com for $1,500 on that date.
Coincidentally, Nike Golf is hosting a media event at Liberty National Golf Club on the Monday before the Barclays. I look forward to being there and will report the news of any new equipment on @Golfweek_Dusek and on golfweek.com.
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