When Tiger Woods talks, people listen. But even when he’s not talking, his silence speaks volumes.
That’s what Nike Golf’s design director Kim Kenney found in analyzing Woods’ non-verbal cues throughout his career.
“For Tiger, we found that the key areas of distraction were his collar and sleeves,” Kenney said. “Tiger was typically adjusting his sleeves before he addressed the ball, moving the garment’s shoulder seam back as a way to mark his golf stance. Then, after he followed through he had to adjust and pull his sleeves back to the original position.”
In designing the Spring 2013 Tiger Woods collection, Kenney and his team at Nike wanted to keep Woods’ on-course wardrobe distractions to a minimum.
To solve this problem, a continuous shoulder seam was ergonomically engineered on the back side of his polo which highlights a proprioceptive point that informs Woods he is in the desired position. In efforts to reduce distraction, the shoulder seam is constructed by ultrasonic line bonding which gives the wearer a seamless feel against the skin.
Additionally, an articulated Kimono-style back with a posture-informing chassis was designed to maximize range of motion. The back of the sleeves are not traditionally sewn onto the body of the shirt, but instead, are engineered as one continuous piece along with the back body of the polo. The design reduces limitations in the area that endures the most tension in a swing – across the back.
'I consider my apparel to be as significant as the rest of my golf equipment,” Tiger Woods said. “My test sessions with the Nike apparel team led us to construct a polo that frees my swing starting at address and continuing through impact and my follow through. The new shoulder seam construction makes for no restrictions. This allows me to swing with power, and with complete confidence.'
Perhaps his seemingly easy successes early in the season – wins at Torrey Pines and Doral – can be attributed, in part, to the seamless stitching in this season's shirts.