A few years ago I asked Tiger Woods if he would ever consider putting a hybrid club in his bag. I don’t remember his exact answer, but it was something like, “I’m not that old yet.”
Now at the age of 37, Woods is using a Nike Covert 3 wood and 5 wood. They’re not exactly hybrids, but you get the point. Time was a Woods playing a 5 wood seemed like sacrilege. But times have changed, fairway woods have changed and certainly the Striped One has changed as he goes into this week’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
Eldrick, of course, won’t be the only player using high-lofted fairway woods and hybrids this week – Merion’s short par-fours and deep, grabbing rough will force the issue – but he will be the most visible.
The Nike Covert 3 wood and 5 wood Woods plays, by the way, are the “stock” models available at any big box store s opposed to the pro models designed for better players.
“When I got here in my teens I used a 1-iron, in my 20s I used a 2-iron, and in my 30s I used a 5-wood,” Woods said with a grin today. “You see where this is going, right? So I think 7.. 9.. 11… So I’m shaping a 11-wood from about 120 out there when I get older.”
Woods said he used a 1-iron for nearly his entire junior career.
“It was part of the game,” Woods said. “Sixty-degree wedges weren’t around when I first started playing. No one used a 60. It was always a 56 – open it up and go from there. For some guys, the lowest loft was 54.
“But I used one of my dad’s 1-irons for a number of years. I stole it out of his bag and put a steel shaft in it and used it for a number of years. But I think when I was 21, I pretty much was resolved to using a 2-iron instead of the 1-iron. I had to take the 1-iron out and put the 2-iron in or vice versa. Now it’s either 2-iron or the 5-wood.”