Reigning Phoenix Open champion Kyle Stanley has reportedly joined the exodus of PGA Tour golfers, including world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who will trade in their Titleist gear for Tiger Woods’ Nike equipment after the first of the year.
Stanley, rumored to have filmed a Nike commercial with McIlroy and Woods earlier this year, has not confirmed his move (and Nike does not comment on speculation), but a source with knowledge of the situation told SBNation it was a done deal.
“Kyle is officially with Nike but you didn't hear it from me,” the source said in a recent e-mail message.
Apparently, McIlroy and Stanley will be shipping out with current Titleist players Bill Haas, Gary Woodland, and Seung-Yul Noh as well, according to Bernie McGuire, who reported on Stanley’s coy response to questions about his pending equipment change.
“You know I can’t say anything,” Stanley, the eighth-longest driver of the ball on tour, told McGuire after the second round of the Australian Open earlier this month.
The world’s 76th-ranked golfer provided another clue to his future equipment plans via his @kylestanleygolf Twitter account. GolfWRX reported on December 15 that “Kyle Stanley followed Nike and Nike Golf on Twitter recently. I think it's safe to assume that he is making the move.”
Stanley, who finished in a share of 28th in Sydney, offered McGuire what appeared to be well-considered opinions on the biggest challenges facing golfers who switch gear suppliers.
“Well, if someone is thinking of changing equipment the main thing to get right is probably the ball and the woods,” he said. “As for the irons, they are all the same these days so they should not be a concern and every manufacturer’s wedges are also pretty close. So the biggest aspect about any change of equipment would be the ball.”
Stanley weathered a rather emotional week back in February. Just a week after a 72nd-hole collapse and playoff loss to Brandt Snedeker at Torrey Pines, he rebounded from an eight-shot deficit to post a final-round 65 and capture the Phoenix Open -- his first tour victory.
The 25-year-old from Washington will be back at TPC Scottsdale next month to defend his title.