Nike Addresses Sumo2 Problems

By Adam BarrMarch 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
A small number of Nike Sumo2 drivers may not conform to the Rules of Golf because of a minor manufacturing problem, Nike announced Friday in a conference call with golf equipment writers.
 
The unauthorized manufacturing variance, as Nike called it, resulted in driver faces that had a coefficient of restitution higher than that allowed by the rules. The variance may result in a distance increase of perhaps a yard or two, Nike said.
 
Only the Sumo2 , known to many as Nikes square-head driver, was affected, Nike said. The company emphasized that no driver being used by a professional or college player has failed to conform to the rules; those clubs are tested at Nikes tour headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
Nike discovered the problem in late February, said Bob Wood, president of Nike Golf, and the company immediately set about correcting the manufacturing problem. The U.S. Golf Association alerted Nike to the possibility that some of its Sumo2 driver heads might have failed the so-called Characteristic Time test, in which a pendulum drops a metal ball onto a clubface and measures the time during which the ball is in contact with the face. The limit under the Rules of Golf is 257 microseconds.
 
A competitor told the USGA that some Nike drivers might be non-compliant, Wood said. But he declined to name the competitor.
 
Nike believes a manufacturing mistake or variance at an overseas foundry (which it would not name) led to the problem, which Nike says affects a very small number of clubs. The foundry does work for as many as 20 club companies, Wood said, but he would not say whether that foundry also serves the company who told the USGA about the problems with the Nike drivers.
 
Nike has instituted an exchange program to accept Sumo2 drivers from consumers who want to return them for a new one. The driver they get back will bear a small circle stamp on the sole to show that it conforms with the Rules of Golf. Details of the program can be found on Nikes golf website, www.nikegolf.com. There will also be a program to handle inventory now in stores.
 
Also, Nike plans to begin 100 percent product inspection at its overseas manufacturing facility and at its Memphis distribution center.
 
Nike is starting these programs voluntarily, Wood said, and not because of any USGA mandate.
 
They cant mandate what we do, Wood said during the conference call. We are choosing out own path on this, and it so happens we choose to do what they would wish. Wood added that he hopes Nikes actions will become an industry standard when other such issues arise, and that he hopes other companies products will be inspected.
 
Dick Rugge, senior technical director for the USGA, quoted in a Nike press release, said, The USGA always places the golfer as its number one priority. We appreciate Nike Golfs cooperation in this process and its plan for exchanging product.
 
The program doesnt apply to regular Sumo drivers and Sasquatch drivers, both of which conform to the rules, Nike says. The Sumo2 driver used by PGA TOUR player and Nike staffer K.J. Choi to win the 2006 Chrysler Championship last fall was also conforming, Nike said.
 
Wood acknowledged that such hiccups can cause image problems in golfs highly competitive equipment market, but was quick to differentiate Nikes situation from that of other club manufacturers who have run afoul of the rules. Nikes variance was completely unintentional, Wood said, unlike Callaway Golf, whose ERC II driver was briefly marketed as a higher-COR alternative for golfers outside the jurisdiction of the USGA. The proactive solutions Nike plans to offer for consumers, retail partners and in its manufacturing process are the bigger story, Nike executives said.
 
[These programs], in our estimation, are the essence of putting the customers first,' said Cindy Davis, U.S. general manager for Nike Golf. And our customers are the people who use our clubs and who sell them at retail.
 
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.