Stewart Cink: "I really liked the Nike One Black ball [I played last season]. It gave me a lot of distance, even more than I had a couple years ago, and I liked its flight characteristics. It's so stable because it's a lower-spin ball. At times, though, I needed a little extra spin to stop it, and it occasionally flew farther than I expected. I'm trying to get a little wider with my swing, and the shallower swing path gives me less backspin, especially with irons. Toward the end of last season I experimented with the One Platinum [a four-piece ball]. I got extra spin with the Platinum, so I could be more aggressive with my irons since I didn't have to worry about the ball getting away from me distance-wise. Now I get the best of both balls with the Nike One Tour D."
Rock Ishii: "We've fit Stewart for seven years, so I have a good sense of what he's looking for. I have years of data to work from, too. His preferences for a low-ball flight, soft feel and great distance off the tee remain the same. But his new swing creates less spin on approach shots. Today, we fit him to a prototype One Tour D ball. It's the same construction and technology as the market version, with a slightly softer cover for his precise requirements. The softer cover mimics our 4-piece ball (e.g., softer feel and increased spin around the green) without sacrificing the enhanced distance or lower ball flight of the 3-piece design."
Fitting PGA Tour pros such as Stewart Cink requires a lot of time (on the range and course), patience and a trained eye to decipher the subtle performance differences among balls. Read on for the step-by-step process.
On the range:
1. Stewart began the session by hitting his 9-iron three times with a "Nike 360" control ball. He then hit Nike's One Tour and One Tour D balls. The Trackman launch monitor recorded data.
2. The fitter [in this case, Rock Ishii] examined the "numbers" and compared them to previous fitting sessions.
3. Steps #1 and #2 were repeated using a 6-iron, 3-iron, driver and, finally, three-quarter swings with Cink's 60-degree wedge.
4. Rock and Stewart selected balls for further testing.
On the course:
5. Stewart hit two to three drives each with the Nike One Black ball, One Tour, prototype One Tour D and One Tour D.
6. Stewart hit these balls to the green from 160 yards and 60 yards.
7. Stewart hit 20 to 30 chips from 10 yards off the putting green, then repeated the process from five yards off.
8. Stewart stroked putts on the green.
9. Rock and Stewart concluded that the prototype One Tour D performed best. However, they also felt that further testing is required.