Tigers ball will be sold to public

Friday, August 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AKRON, Ohio – The exact ball used by Tiger Woods in his three major championship victories will be available soon at retail, but Nike Golf's president said Thursday the decision had been in the works long before a federal lawsuit was filed against the company.

"We've had plans to do that because of the demand the ball has brought to the market," Bob Wood said from Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Public Remedies Inc. filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco on Tuesday, claiming Nike has engaged in unfair business practices because the Tour Accuracy ball used by Woods is different than the Tour Accuracy version currently sold in golf shops.

The Nike Golf president said the ball currently on the market contains the same design and construction material as the ball used by Woods, the only difference being that Woods' ball is 5 percent harder in the core and cover to reduce spin.

Spokesman Mike Kelly said Nike's research indicates no more than 5 to 8 percent of the market is interested in using the exact same ball as Woods. Still, Nike plans to start selling the ball next month or early next year.

That decision will depend on the bizarre technicalities of U.S. Golf Association approval.

When Nike submitted Woods' ball to the USGA, the label said "Tour Accuracy" with an arrow symbol. That was approved.

Nike recently submitted the same ball – with a 5 percent harder core and cover – but with a label that says, "Tour Accuracy TW." The USGA will not release its next list of conforming balls until October.