Around the first of the year, Nike Golf made a big marketing splash by unveiling a series of new signings – first, Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, then Thorbjorn Olesen and Seung-yul Noh, and finally Rory McIlroy.
Almost a month later, the Swoosh has announced that it has re-signed David Duval. This is noteworthy in that Duval and Tiger Woods were Nike Golf's first big stars – and, in fact, Duval was the first player to win a major using Nike clubs at the 2001 British Open. His original deal with Nike ran out many years ago, though, and he recently has been endorsing clubs from boutique clubmaker Scratch Golf.
Now 41, Duval was on top of the world – even ranked No. 1 for a while – with 13 PGA Tour titles, three Ryder Cup teams and three Presidents Cup teams, but in recent years he has struggled to stay on the PGA Tour. He's been back to Q-School a couple of times – a broken toe kept him out of yet another trip to Q-School last fall. He apparently took a big hit when the housing market crashed, and couldn't even get an exemption into the Humana Challenge last month despite giving that tournament its defining moment by shooting a 59 there several years ago.
He had a miserable 2012 campaign, making only three cuts in 17 starts, and earning only about $32,000. As the new season dawned, though, Duval expressed excitement over his chances for 2013, but it's taken him this long to even get a PGA Tour start – he'll make his season debut this week at Pebble Beach. He has said he'll play anywhere, anytime – even the Web.com Tour if that's what it takes. And he said on Twitter at the beginning of the year that he was returning to the Nike stable, but stressed that, at the time, he hadn't signed anything with the Swoosh.
Well, the Swoosh just made it official, and that's got to give Duval some kind of a boost, even if the financial terms are nowhere near those of some of Nike's other big offseason signings. Tiger and Phil have dominated the PGA Tour headlines the last two weeks. It'd be nice to see Duval make a headline or two of his own this year.
Here's the gear he will play:
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert (8.5 degrees, Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft)
3-Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15 degrees)
2-9 Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades
48-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro Blade
53-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
58-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
Putter: Nike Method 006 prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control