Nike debuts 20XI ball at Doral


DORAL, Fla. – More so than any other piece of equipment a PGA Tour player’s golf ball is sacrosanct for all the right reasons, which makes Anthony Kim’s decision to play Nike Golf’s new 20XI ball with a RZN-Core telling to the extreme.

“With AK as long as he sees benefit he’ll change right away,” said Nike’s golf ball whisperer Rock Ishii who introduced Kim to the “S” version of the new ball at last year’s WGC in China and the American switched that week.

Not all players are as easily swayed, however.

“With Tiger (Woods),” Ishii smiled, “it could take a year. Or a guy like Stewart Cink he wants to understand the benefits in his head before he changes. Tiger is the same way.”

Considering the benefits officials say come with the new 20XI series, the company has also developed an “X” model, it may not take Woods that long to convert.

According to Ishii the new ball, which was 4 ½ years in development and is based on new core technology that was developed with DuPont, the new golf balls create less spin off the driver, which maximizes distance, and more spin off wedge shots, for more feel.

“With the old cores it was a six-step process to create. With the RZN-Core it is a two-part process which is more consistent and simpler,” Ishii said. “It allows us to use a softer cover.”

The 20X1 series, which will become available to the public on April 29 for a suggested retail price of $45, has already gained traction on Tour. Along with Kim Nike has 15 staff members playing the new golf ball, which has the added benefit of making up for some of the spin loss players encountered when the U.S. Golf Association dialed back grooves in wedges last year.

“After the groove changes the balls were running out too far,” Kim said. “It’s definitely helped around the greens and from the rough. But it’s still not even close (to where they were before the groove change). I don’t think we’ll ever get it back.”