Tiger’s clubs up close and personal
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Unlike the driver used by Tiger Woods – a stock 9.5-degree Victory Red Tour model – Tiger’s VR Blade irons are hardly stock. They have been bent and ground to his precise specifications.
This is not unusual for touring pros. Most of them play with custom-ground irons. The reasons are pretty simple: Generally they want a certain look (particularly with the toe or top line), or they want a specified performance feature (often determined by the camber and/or bounce of the sole).
Woods has always been very demanding in regard to his irons. When he turned pro in 1997, he signed with Titleist but continued to use Mizuno forged blades for more than a year. Eventually he switched to Titleist forged blades.
In 2009, Woods began his season with Nike VR Blade irons but a few months later went back to an old set of Nike forged blades. So we can assume he was more comfortable with the old blades than the new set.
Why is he once again using VR Blades? Woods and Nike tour rep Rick Nichols have yet to offer an explanation, but once again let’s make an assumption: Something about his 2010 VR Blades must be different from the ones he used in 2009.
Perhaps it is the grinding, or perhaps it is the feel of the iron heads themselves. We may never know, but it will be interesting to watch the composition of Tiger’s bag throughout the year.
Here at the Masters, he is carrying 3-through-pitching wedge VR Blades, with additional VR wedges of 56 and 62 degrees. His 3-wood (15 degrees) and 5-wood (19 degrees) are Nike SQ Sumo models. His putter is the old reliable Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 TW prototype.
Tiger’s ball, a version of the Nike One Tour, is an extra-soft ball made for Tiger and also used by Anthony Kim. Nike Staffers Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover use a version of the firmer Nike One Tour D ball.
There is no question Woods could pick up 10 yards or more with a hotter ball, but then he would sacrifice the feel around the greens that is so crucial to his success.
Want more Tiger? His iron and wedge shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold (X-100 for the irons), his 3-wood and 5-wood shafts are Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board (103 grams), and his driver shaft is a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7 (75 grams).
Finally, he uses Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord grips on all his clubs except the putter. His putter grip has not changed over the years. It is the familiar Ping Black-Out model.