Despite his new equipment deal with TaylorMade, Tiger Woods will stick with the Swoosh when it comes to footwear, continuing a 20-plus year relationship with Nike.
Ahead of the launch of Woods’ latest signature shoe, the TW ’17, Nike spoke with designer Tobie Hatfield to find out what it’s been like to work with the golf legend over the past four years.
“The thing about Tiger is he actually wants to learn the language of footwear design,” Hatfield said. “He wants to use that same language because he knows that helps the design and development process. I can talk to him like I’m talking to another designer. I really like that about him and appreciate it because he wants to understand.”
Woods’ first Nike signature shoe, the Air Zoom TW, was released in 1997, but Hatfield didn’t begin working with the 14-time major winner until 2013’s TW ’13 model.
“When I first started with him [on] the TW ‘13, he really wanted to start completely over with his shoes. … So, when I brought him a prototype, he had to evaluate everything all at once. That makes it more difficult to understand it and judge it fairly … not easy to do for anyone,” Hatfield said of their first project together.
Things were different this time around, as Hatfield explains they’ve been able to hone in on each individual aspect of the TW ’17. “It’s the first time we’ve come into the season as close to 100 percent dialed on footwear since I’ve been working with him.”
The Nike TW ’17 will be released April 1 on nike.com and select Nike Golf retailers.