Tiger, Rory, Phil & more: see how they performed after changing equipment provider

Is it true the pros always struggle when changing equipment provider? We look at the stats...

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Submitted by Charlie Lemay on

Tiger, Rory, Phil & more: see how they performed after changing equipment provider

It's largely assumed that when pros change equipment provider, their form dips as they get used to new sticks - but is that really the case?

We've looked at seven examples - some from a while ago and some from recent times - and inspected how the players performed the year before and after they switched up clubs. 

Keep in mind, some of the players didn't switch the full bag when they signed with their new provider, and drip fed their new kit into play over the coming years. 

Many of the events included in the statistics are co-sanctioned. 

Tiger Woods - Titleist to Nike, 2002

The biggest equipment switch in golf - Tiger to the Swoosh. Woods had previously moved from a Titleist ball to a Nike product in 2000, going on to win the next four majors.

But it was in 2002 when Nike put their clubs on the market, and this coincided with Tiger putting them in the bag, playing driver, irons and wedges from the mega-brand.

First it was the new Nike driver that went in around February, followed by irons in September.

Year before switch, 2001: 7 wins (Bay Hill Invitational, the Players Championship, Masters, Memorial, WGC-NEC Invitational, Deutsche Bank, Johnnie Walker Classic)
PGA Tour (19 events): 5 wins, nine top 10s, 18 top 25s, 0 missed cuts
European Tour (8 events): 4 wins, 5 top 10s, 7 top 25s, 0 missed cuts

Year of switch, 2002: 6 wins (Bay Hill Invitational, Masters, US Open, Buick Open, American Express Championship, Deutsche Bank)
PGA Tour (18 events): 5 wins, 13 top 10s, 16 top 25s, 0 missed cuts
European Tour (8 events): 4 wins, 6 top 20s, 6 top 25s, 0 missed cuts

Verdict: Very similar seasons. Woods was slow to adopt the irons, as he wanted to be absolutely sure they were suited to him, and he was ready to put them in play. He continued to play Titleist wedges, fairway woods and putter for some time.

Rory McIlroy - Titleist to Nike, 2013

Nike put on a show when they announced they had signed Northern Ireland’s brightest star Rory McIlroy to wear their attire and also play their golf clubs.

McIlroy was already a two-time major champion and one of the biggest names in golf alongside fellow Swoosh staffer Tiger Woods when he made the switch.

He was seen as the future of the brand in golf.

Year before switch, 2012: 5 wins (Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank, BMW Championship, DP World Tour Championship)
PGA Tour (16 events): 4 wins, 10 top 10s, 11 top 25s, 3 missed cuts
European Tour (15 events: 2 wins, 10 top 10s, 10 top 25s, 4 missed cuts

Year after switch, 2013: 0 wins
PGA Tour (16 events): 0 wins, 5 top 10s, 7 top 25s, 1 missed cut
European Tour ( 13 events): 0 wins, 4 top 10s, 5 top 25s, 4 missed cuts

Verdict: Ouch - unlike Tiger, it seems McIlroy struggled to get used to his new equipment. Both in Europe and Stateside, the Northern Irishman struggled throughout, failing to add any wins to the tally.