Tiger Woods appears to be ready to compete in the 2022 Masters Tournament, and he arrived at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday to begin preparations for what will be a remarkable comeback attempt.
Scores of golf fans were surprised, though, to see Tiger Woods wearing FootJoy golf shoes on the tournament practice facility and throughout his practice round. After all, Tiger Woods is a Nike guy and has worn their footwear -- which he helped design and has his name and logo on -- for the overwhelming duration of his professional career.
So why is Tiger Woods wearing FootJoy golf shoes at the 2022 Masters?
First, let's identify the FootJoy shoes Tiger Woods is wearing. He's wearing the current-year FootJoy Premiere Series Packard golf shoes. They're a $200 shoe.
Woods is probably wearing these shoes because he needs more width and stability, and that's something that Nike Golf isn't typically known for in their golf shoes -- particularly on the width side. Nike Golf makes some of the more narrow golf shoes in the market, and they've trended toward making shoes with more of a profile that matches their other footwear.
What does that mean for Woods? With a right ankle and foot that likely swells and is somewhat limited in its mobility, Woods needs a shoe that can accommodate how his foot functions and may inhibit his swing. He also likely needs more width to feel confident taking powerful swings on the many varied lies at Augusta National, which famously has a rare flat lie outside of a tee box.
It's unclear when Woods made the decision to wear the FootJoy golf shoes, so we don't know if this decision was made weeks in advance or what prompted it. Likely, though, Woods realized he needed some different footwear options for the Masters as he was beginning preparation at home in Florida and sought out some alternatives to his Nike Golf shoes. He landed on the FootJoy Premiere Series Packards because they're wider, firmer in the padding and offer plenty of traction points.
While FootJoy isn't commenting publicly, they're surely thrilled by Woods' choice. However, Woods is under contract with Nike Golf, and they did offer a statement to ESPN, among other outlets, saying:
“Like golf fans around the world, we are delighted to see Tiger back on the course. He is an incredible athlete, and it is phenomenal to see him returning to the game at this level. His story continues to transcend sport and inspire us all. As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs.”