Ames Sabbatini Join Nike Golf Tour Staff

By January 20, 2003, 5:00 pm
Nike - Show Page LogoNike Golf today announced the signings of Stephen Ames and Rory Sabbatini to its Tour Staff. Ames and Sabbatini join PGA rookie Jason Gore as the latest PGA professionals to switch to the TA2 golf ball from Nike Golf.
In addition to the TA2 LNG, the new faster-core distance ball, Ames will play Nike Golf's new Forged Pro Combo Irons and Forged Titanium Driver. He is also expected to wear the Dri-FIT Tour glove and Nike Golf footwear.
South African Sabbatini will play the lower-trajectory distance ball, TA2 SPN, in addition to Nike Golf footwear and the Dri-FIT Tour glove.
Gore, a Valencia, Calif. resident, is also playing the TA2 SPN. The 28-year old won on the Tour in 2002 just two weeks after switching to the 400cc Forged Titanium Driver from Nike Golf. He will be wielding the larger sweet spot 400cc when he begins his rookie PGA season next week in Phoenix at the Phoenix Open. Gore is also head-to-toe in Nike Golf cap, apparel and footwear.
'I know that Nike Golf has the equipment to help me take my game to the next level,' Ames confided. The 38-year old who resides in Calgary, Canada, will be one of at least 10 professionals to begin the year playing the Pro Combo Irons that were introduced last Fall from Nike Golf and master club maker Tom Stites.
More than 60 players across all major professional tours are expected to switch to Nike Golf's TA2 in 2003. Nike Golf expects to add as many as 40 new professionals in 2003 to its Tour Staff due to the attraction of the TA2 and Stites' club line-up. Already, 36 of Nike Golf's 2002 Tour Staff of 38 have switched to the new distance ball.
The TA2 is the result of more than three years of testing; feedback from hundreds of golfers after thousands of rounds played; scores of professional tour victories including seven Major Championships; and the magic of the most talented golf ball engineer in the golf industry.
The TA2 is the first major project at Nike Golf for new lead engineer Rock Ishii, who led the initial Tour Accuracy engineering team as a project liaison in 1998. Ishii has earned the respect and trust of the best golfers in the world, including Tiger Woods and David Duval, and is heralded by some to be the most talented product designer in the industry.
Ishii has created two TA2 models, each designed to respond to a golfers' swing type and launch angle. Golfers can choose from the TA2 LNG or TA2 SPN based upon their preference for a high or mid-level trajectory:
TA2 LNG - Designed for players who prefer a distance ball with a higher trajectory, the TA2 LNG's higher compression and slightly harder cover make it the right distance ball for players with a low-to-mid launch angle.
TA2 SPN - Designed for players who prefer a mid-trajectory, wind-boring distance ball with a slightly softer feel and increased responsiveness, the TA2 SPN's lower compression, softer cover and higher dimple pattern make it the right distance ball for golfers with a mid-to-high launch angle.
Last week, Nike Golf announced the additions of veteran Nick Faldo and rookie John E. Morgan to its Tour Staff playing the TA2.
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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.