A new set of Nike irons will be in Tiger Woods’ bag at Mount Juliet this week, when he contests the American Express World Golf Championship event in Ireland.
Apart from a handful of rounds on the PGA tour and in special events, Woods has stuck to the forged Titleist clubs he used in College as a teenager.
Now he feels he’s ready to switch to a new set of forged blades, currently being used by other Nike players, including David Duval, Stewart Cink, Michael Campbell and Trevor Immelman.
"Obviously, there's always an element of risk any time you change clubs, whether it's any club in the bag," says Woods. "But I think, if you try them out and test them out enough, then hopefully they'll perform."
The 26-year-old who has won eight majors and six World Championship titles revealed that his new irons (2-iron to pitching wedge) were better balanced than the previous set.
"I think, overall, consistency in the heads has been the most significant factor I have found after practising with them," he said. "The balance is consistent throughout the set. I found that was the biggest difference between my previous set and these."
Woods will also use the Nike Forged Titanium driver, play the Precision Tour Accuracy TW golf ball and wear the Dri-FIT Tour glove, the Dri-FIT Tour TW footwear and apparel from Nike Tiger Woods Collection.
Duval is also among a star-studded field challenging Woods, before joining him in the Ryder Cup match with Europe at The De Vere Belfry next week. Cink has stayed behind with Hal Sutton to contest the Tampa Bay Classic at Innisbrook Resort.
Of the elite field of just 64 other players, 49 of the world's top 50 will be in Ireland – the only one missing is Japan's Toshimitsu Izawa, who declined to travel.
Woods, who will be competing in his first professional tournament in Ireland, says of the course: "It's going to be an interesting test because the greens are so pure. The guys are going to shoot some really low numbers here."
Seven of the 12-man European Ryder Cup team are competing including Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington both still nursing injuries but expecting to be fully fit by Sunday. The others are Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Niclas Fasth, Bernhard Langer and Sergio Garcia.