|Nike One Platinum ball|
It’s billed as the ball Tiger Woods uses; the ball that Nike engineers developed to make better use of the deep-faced 460cc Ignite driver he used to regain his World No.1 position.
Though the ball Tiger used in 2004 had the optimum spin-rate he needed to be more efficient and longer with a higher trajectory ball, Nike engineers reckoned he was still not reaching his potential.
The challenge for Nike Golf's ball team was to develop a ball that was longer and controllable with larger headed drivers, without losing the spin performance around the green.
And with Tiger’s average of 301 yards off the tee, including a 407-yard effort in the Mercedes Championships – not to mention three victories this year, including the US Masters – Nike reckons it has found the ball for Tiger.
But is it the same ball Phil Matthews - a nine handicap Ian Poulter lookalike – and myself used yesterday? I doubt it.
True, the greens at Greetham Valley were fast and firm but we both expected more bite and spin from those nipped approaches off tight fairway lies.
Said Phil, a sports science student at Stirling University: "I’m a fan of Nike’s recent balls and this seemed to fly well through the air – until I lost my sample ball with a high swinging hook out of bounds - but the feel wasn’t what I’d expect from a ball that it’s claimed Tiger uses.
"It felt more like a Top-Flite than a Pro V1 and that may have had something to do with the white paint work. I prefer balls to have a creamier look – the feel is better." I’d have to agree. There was a hardness to the ball I didn’t think would sit well with better players – never mind Tiger and his fellow Nike Tour pros like Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard.
And my surviving ball looked like it had been ten rounds with Ricky Hatton – so a question mark hangs over its durability.
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