Tiger Woods has paid tribute to his Nike equipment for helping him end the longest victory drought of his career.
Woods, who sealed his first official PGA Tour title for 30 months with a seventh Arnold Palmer Invitational triumph on Sunday, believes he has now fully adjusted and is ready to compete with the game’s biggest hitters in 2012.
“The hardest adjustment I’ve had to make is just getting my distances and hitting the ball further,” said the 14-time major champion, who averaged 294.6 yards off the tee with his Nike VR Tour driver at Bay Hill.
“I went through a number of years where I lost a lot of distance but I was able to still hit my numbers.
“I’ve gained all that back now and I’m one of the longer hitters out here on Tour again which is nice.
With a peerless exhibition of ball control, Woods sucked the drama out of Arnie’s event and the challenge of his rivals with a series of laser-like irons shots on the front nine before running out a deserved five-shot victor.
“I really feel like I’m starting to solidify because the ball is not moving, just going so straight and the ball flight is so tight,” added Woods, who performed admirably with his Nike VR Pro Blades, ranking tied first in greens in regulation on 79.2%.
Several hours earlier, Titleist staffer Michael Hoey secured a third European Tour title in his last 24 events with a commanding three-shot victory at the Trophee Hassan II.
What the 33-year-old lacked in distance, he more than gained in driving accuracy and short game skills.
Hoey, who fired two weekend rounds of 65, missed just one fairway during his closing 18 holes at Golf du Palais Royal and trusted his Vokey wedges on the closing holes en route to winning by three shots.
The Northern Irishman superbly splashed out of the sand at the par-3 16th from 30 yards out to within inches of the pin, and once again from the greenside bunker at the par-5 17th to set up a crucial birdie-four.
Titleist’s 2012 worldwide golf ball win count now stands at 33.
What’s in the winners’ bags
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5-degree; Graphite Design DI 6X)
Fairway wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15-degree) and Nike SQ II (19-degree; Mitsubishi Diaman Blue Board 103)
Irons (3-PW): Nike VR Pro Blades (True Temper Dynamic Gold X100)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56- and 60-degree)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike ONE Tour D
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (8.5-degree; Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Kai’li 60)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910F (13.5-degree; Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Kai’li 80)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H (Speeder 904HB)
Irons (3-PW): Titleist AP2 712 (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (54- and 58-degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Putter: Yes! Golf Donna
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Glove: Titleist Players
Shoes: FJ Icon
Grip: Golf Pride black/white Multi Compound