Guess what color shirt Tiger Woods will be wearing this Sunday at the Masters Tournament.
That's easy. Naturally, the answer is red—or something in the red family. This year, it's Action Red, if you want to impress your friends and family with the specifics.
What about the rest of the days at Augusta—Thursday through Saturday?
If you like Nike Golf on Facebook or if you follow them on Twitter, you already know what Tiger Woods is wearing all four days at Augusta. But do you know why he's wearing what he's wearing—and the technology behind it?
Probably not. I didn't, either.
That's why I caught up with Doug Reed, Nike Golf's Global Business Director of Apparel and Footwear to find out more about the process of how Tiger and other Nike Golf athletes assist in scripting their clothing for the year's biggest and best major—the Masters Tournament.
Doug and his team are admittedly obsessed with making golf apparel and footwear better. They are the equipment managers for Nike Golf's athletes and they take that role seriously.
The scripting process begins in a once or twice per year sit down with the players. Or, with guys who are really into it, like Paul Casey and defending Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, it can be four or five times each year.
Schwartzel will wear Nike Golf's Tour Premium collection for the first two rounds and switch to their Tour Performance Collection for the weekend. Notice his Sunday getup—to replicate the all-black look from his final round last year.
Who says golfers are superstitious?
The scripted outfits—for Thursday through Sunday—are presented to each player on paper and coordinated with their head wear, shoes and belt. Nike Golf gets an initial approval from each player, then as a full run of samples becomes available, they are bagged up and given to the player to make sure they are pleased with all aspects of the outfit—the look, the style and the color—to get themselves comfortably coordinated from head to toe.
"It's not unlike what we do with our college and professional athletes in other sports," Reed said. "Our job is to be the locker room for the professional golfer and we want to make sure they've got the right gear in the bag and that they are ready for whatever tournament they're going to be playing in, the climate conditions at that tournament and any other special considerations—like if they might be donning a green jacket on Sunday—to make sure the outfit is going to coordinate really well."
The scripting process in majors allows Nike Golf to work with their athletes to find their favorite fabrics, colors and looks, and then make sure they are going to have something very distinct, especially when they get into the weekend, so they feel like they have something that is uniquely tailored for them as well as providing a performance advantage in the game's biggest moments.
Of course, Tiger Woods is all about pushing the envelope with performance. He shared with Nike Golf's apparel team what Reed called one of Nike's "insightful athlete moments."
"When we met with Tiger a little over a year ago, he was talking about how his coach, Sean Foley, wanted to work with him on his upper body rotation. This increase in body rotation is the way he was going to harness his power and really control the golf swing without giving up any distance."
Tiger said that based on his work with Foley, he had dramatically increased his upper body rotation, prompting the apparel team to design a new line of super-light, super-stretch shirts and pants.
Consequently, Tiger's brand of TW apparel (the Tiger Woods Collection) was repositioned from a men's wear line to what Reed described as "the most modern expression of innovation you could have in golf clothes."
The end result is what you've seen Tiger wearing this year. It's lighter, more form-fitting and more playable. So, it's designed to not only help Tiger perform better on the golf course, it is also designed to make him look good.
"We're not really doing traditional stripe-repeat patterns anymore," Reed said. "The appearance is engineered to look good on Tiger as his upper body is rotating. Everything is meant to capture how fantastically athletic Tiger is when he's out on the golf course. He looks like a straight-out race car these days."
As one example, you've probably noticed the single seam down the middle of Tiger's back on some of his shirts this year. That's not there by accident. Tiger's athleticism factored very heavily into the design of the product. You'll see that on his Action Red Ultra Light Polo on Sunday.
The same holds true for the gradient styles he will be wearing on Thursday and Friday and the Speed Stripe Polo he'll have on Saturday.
As for the shoes, Tiger will continue to wear the innovative TW ’13 Nike Free-Inspired kicks. And for those of you wondering when they will be available for the public, look for a June 2012 release in two colors—black and white, just like Tiger will be wearing at the Masters.
"When you have an athlete that is as insightful and willing to partner and collaborate on a product like Tiger does, you can come up with stuff the industry wouldn't have even dreamed about," Reed said.
In addition to outfitting all their athletes with clothing, Nike Golf is providing them with what they term an "energy moment" with special footwear for the Masters.
The popular, super-lightweight Lunar Control shoe is being given an Augusta adjustment again this year. It's a white shoe with just the right amount of Masters green—green stitching on the upper, with a green sock liner and the option for green laces. It includes a white canvas shoe bag inspired by the traditional white overalls worn by the caddies at Augusta.
"When we looked at how we could best serve the athletes, and how to make them feel really good about the products and their game going into the Masters, we developed these special packages for them," Reed said. "Nike has done this type of thing for a lot of years—gold spikes for Michael Johnson at the Olympics in 1986. A special colored sock or boot for the World Cup. We decided to bring that same level of energy into the golf space."
Look for Schwartzel, Casey, Kevin Chappell, Stewart Cink, Simon Dyson, Ross Fisher, Lucas Glover and Francesco Molinari to be wearing these cool kicks during the tournament.
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