Keen eyed golf fans watching Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel win across the world in the last few months will have spotted a Nike prototype rolling in the putts.
The cat is now out of of the bag with the launch of the Nike Method Origin, a classic blade looking putter designed specifically to minimise distraction on the greens, a result of feedback from some of the world's greatest golfers, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlory.
David Franklin, Nike Golf Master Modelmaker explains:
When we design a putter, our entire goal is to make the putter an extension of the athlete. We want them to step onto the green without even considering the putter in their hands, but rather just be thinking about getting the ball in the hole.
As you'd expect from Nike, the classic styling is packed with performance features, meeting the demands of Woods who wanted a putter that was more stable with a consistent feel and performance across the face.
Nike has achieved this with the use of its family of RZN responsive materials that is also used in the RZN golf balls and Vapor Fly Irons.
In the Method Origin putter the RZN material is the filling in a three piece construction sandwich. Sitting between a steel face and back section, the blue RZN layer is compressed and actually means the steel sections are not in contact.
This layer acts incrementally across the face to increase consistency of energy transfer to the ball. A strike in the centre of the face has a dampening effect, whereas on off centre strikes the RZN compresses and returns energy to the ball, greatly improving distance control.
The feedback from Tiger and Rory also led to Nike's team at The Oven completely re-engineering the polymetal groove technology on the face with the new putters boasting full-length grooves that are linear from heel to toe.
There are now twice the number of grooves compared to previous Method putters, which increases the coefficient of friction and traction on the golf ball, creating earlier forward roll and a smoother, softer feel at impact.
Rory is a big fan of this change:
I love the new grooves. The roll was perfect and I felt like the contact was so much softer than my previous putter; it got the ball rolling so much quicker.
Another change is that the face now has a loft of 3°, up from 2° on previous Method models. The putters will be available in lengths of 34 or 35 inches with the shorter model featuring heavier tungsten weights in the sole.
The Origin Method is available in 2 models with Rory playing the B2-01 and Tiger preferring the B1-01 with a dot for alignment rather than a sight line.
Other Nike Pro's using the Method Origin are Charl Schwartzel (B1-01), Russell Henley (B2-01), Scott Pinckney (B1-01), Ryan Ruffels (B1-01), Nick Watney (B2-01), Lucas Bjerregard (B1-01) and Ross Fisher (B2-01).