A lot of golf fans who watched Francesco Molinari’s triumph at Carnoustie noticed something about his gear. Namely that, though he wore Nike logos on his clothing, none of his golf clubs carried the iconic swoosh.
That’s because Nike Golf decided to quit the golf club business two years back and decided to focus on apparel and shoes instead. That allowed a bunch of Nike-sponsored pro golfers like Molinari (as well as fellow 2018 major winners Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed) to seek out new clubs to swing on Tour.
Molinari is back in action this week following his victory at the Open Championship, and the newly minted major champion was asked about the process of finding new clubs during his press conference prior to the start of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“When Nike stopped making equipment, I just took it as a chance to test as much as possible and to find things that would help me improve my game. It wasn’t easy because it was a lot of work, especially for someone like me that had been 12 years with Nike. I didn’t know what was out there, so it’s taken a little time to go through the testing.”
Then a reporter asked Molinari if the ability to play any clubs he wanted was “freeing.” He instead chose to point out the downside of his situation, and what he misses most about playing Nike equipment.
“To be honest, it made me realize as well how good of support I was getting from Nike and the guys building the clubs,” Molinari said.
Most sponsored Tour pros get their clubs dialed in exactly how they want them by their manufacturer. In addition, the companies make frequent alterations for their staff pros both during and outside of events. So the takeaway here seems to be that the support system around Tour players is just as important as the specific types of clubs they use.
“In the end, I think there’s a lot of good equipment out there and it depends a lot on the relationship that you have with the guys building the clubs and how much they understand what you need. So the communication between us and the manufacturers, I think, is really important.”
Molinari tees off for the first round of the Bridgestone at 2:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. You can check out a full list of his Open-winning clubs below.
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (8.5°) with Mitsubishi Tensei shaft
Fairway woods: TaylorMade M3 (13°) with Aldila XTorsion Green shaft, TaylorMade M4 (18°) with Aldila XTorsion Green shaft
Utility iron: TaylorMade P-790 UDI (shaft info not available)
Irons: TaylorMade P-790 (4), TaylorMade P-750 (5-PW), with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (50°, 56°), TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60°), with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
Putter: Bettinardi DASS BB0
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x