After a tough season in 2012 that saw Nick Watney visit the winners circle only one time during the regular season at The Barclays, he will now be swinging some new equipment. Watney, who has played Titleist equipment since turning pro in the 2003 season, announced on Wednesday he has signed a deal with Nike. Companies had to wait until after January 1st to announce new staffers, Nike also named Phoenix Open winner, Kyle Stanley.
Watney has stated that he played some golf with the new equipment at home prior to making the trip to Hawaii for the start of the Tournament of Champions which will officially get underway on Thursday. The Royal Plantation Course at Kapalua will provide a nice test for distance and wind control. He will be looking for some added yardage off the tee with his new driver on the 7,400 yard course.
Watney has converted his entire bag to the new equipment, playing the Nike VR_S Covert driver set at 11.5 degrees. He will also switch to the Nike Method Prototype putter, and the Nike 20XI golf ball. The ball should provide less spin, which will take some of the guess work out of his approach shots, where he can be a little more aggressive. He indicated on The Morning Drive that he was totally committed, and was not concerned that his game would suffer during the learning curve.
The 31 year old pro from Sacramento California, who played his collegiate golf at Fresno State added a win at the CIMB Classic, and ended the Wendy’s Classic tied for 1st. He had five top ten finishes, missed three cuts in 2012, and won just a shade over $3 million. Even with his win at the Barclays, he still finished 49th in FedEx Cup points at the end of the year. Watney did not play well enough in 2012 to make the Ryder Cup team on points, but I felt like he should have been a Captains pick.
Maybe the new equipment will put a spark into his game that can return him to the player he was in 2011 where he won twice, and finished the regular season in 1st place. After the playoffs, he ended 2011 in 9th place. Nick Watney has always been a terrific putter, and maybe the switch to Nike will solidify the other parts of his game. Tiger Woods plays with the familiar swoosh on his bag.
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