Nike signs Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley

Kyle Stanley and Nick Watney
Courtesy of Nike Golf
Nike revealed its two new signings in a special announcement on New Year's Day.
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Tuesday, January 01, 2013 | 3:06 p.m.

The folks at Nike Golf aren't taking it easy on New Year's Day. Instead of sleeping in, the Swoosh has announced that it has signed Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley away from Titleist.

Stanley's story -- crushing defeat at Torrey Pines followed the very next week by a redemptive victory in Phoenix -- is a great one, but Watney is the big story here. He's a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, with the most recent of those coming at the Barclays, the first event of the 2012 FedExCup playoffs. And, of course, he won the FedExCup in 2011.

Watney, ranked No. 20 in the world, is making the first equipment switch of his 10-year pro career, Nike said. He will play a full bag of Nike clubs, use Nike accessories and wear Nike gloves, headwear, footwear and apparel as part of his multi-year agreement with the company.

In Watney's bag will be:

--VR_S Covert driver with 11.5 degrees of loft and in a neutral position
--VR_S Covert 3-wood with 14 degrees of loft
--VR_S Covert 5-wood with 18 degrees of loft
--VR Pro Combo irons (3-PW)
--VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree wedges
--Method Prototype putter
--20XI ball
--Tour Performance Collection apparel
--Lunar Control II footwear

Stanley also has signed a multiyear deal to use Nike gear and wear Nike apparel. His bag will include:

--VR_S Covert driver with 9.5 degrees of loft and in a neutral position
--VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood with 15 degrees of loft
--VR Pro Combo 2-iron
--VR Pro Blades (3- to 9-irons)
--Nike VR Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree wedges
--20XI X putter
--Tour Performance Collection apparel
--Lunar Control II footwear

A few quick notes:

--Watney's 11.5 degrees of loft in his driver is the most loft of any top-level PGA Tour player that I'm aware of. Watney, who is switching to Nike from Titleist, had been using a 10.5-degree loft in his Titleist 913D3 driver.

--The list of Stanley's gear that Nike released doesn't include a putter. It's possible that he hasn't definitely decided on a new Nike model yet, but it's also possible that he's planning to stick with an old reliable putter of a different brand. I'm not sure what he's been using lately, but when he won the Phoenix Open last February, he used a Scotty Cameron Timeless GSS prototype.

--Both Watney and Stanley are scheduled to debut their new stuff in the PGA Tour's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which starts this Friday in Hawaii.

--And finally, one more intriguing tidbit to start the new year. Nike is planning another announcement next Monday, Jan. 7, and the speculation is, of course, that it will be the official word on Rory McIlroy's much-reported switch to the Swoosh.

Update: Also, we have learned that:

--Chris Kirk has gone from Titleist to Callaway
--Gary Woodland has gone from Titleist to Callaway
--2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink has gone from Nike over to TaylorMade
--2010 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover also has gone from Nike over to TaylorMade
--2012 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year John Huh has gone from Ping to TaylorMade
--Ryan Moore has gone from Adams Golf over to TaylorMade (TaylorMade owns Adams Golf, so this is an in-house move)

 

PGA.com