Including Sunday's win wearing the Nike TW '14, Tiger Woods has won eight times since switching to a sneaker-like golf shoe he designed with Tobie Hatfield, the mind behind the Nike Free running shoes. Hatfield answers five questions from Mike Stachura.
Cruel shoes: Tiger Woods' precision extends to Hatfield's shoe design. Photo: Marc Lecureuil
Q: What's the challenge in designing golf shoes?
Golf has been one of the more unusual sports for me to work on because the golfer is on so many different types of terrain in one round, even in one hole. I mean, a gym floor is a gym floor wherever you go. In track, everything's the same. In golf, it's crazy. It's anything and everything.
Q: What changes were made for this year?
Tiger wanted to build upon the idea of mobility with stability. We've brought the dynamic Flywire technology of our other shoes to the golf shoe. It works with his foot when he's moving, but when he's at address and the club is moving, then it holds him in really nicely, and he can feel that power translate into the ball.
Q: How is a minimalist, "natural motion" design important in a golf shoe?
You want to feel what's underneath, not in a bad way but in a good way. The easier it is for the computer that's your mind to understand those differences, the better you're able to make adjustments and stay balanced. Balance is so key.
Q: How is Tiger as a shoe designer?
It felt like I was talking to this amazing computer. He remembers every shot he's hit in his life, what it felt like at the moment of impact, and he's very precise in how he describes things.
Q: How important is it for Tiger to win with this technology?
I can have all the technology in the world, but if the greatest golfer wasn't wearing it, it would be much more difficult. If anyone is going to change what golfers wear on their feet, it's Tiger.