McIlroy dusts off old gear to drive his way to BMW lead

John Craven

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy dusted off some old equipment and any lingering fatigue to drive his way to the top of the leaderboard with a super eight-under par round of 64 on day one of the BMW Championship.

McIlroy had spoken on Wednesday about how the condensed schedule had caught up with him in recent weeks but sometimes a change is as good as a rest and after digging out an old driver, 3-wood and Spider putter from the garage, McIlroy reaped the rewards, firing seven birdies, an eagle and dropping just one shot to share the overnight lead with world number one Jon Rahm and American Sam Burns.

“I went down to Florida after the Northern Trust on Monday night, went into the garage and rummaged through a few different things, got my old putter back out, got my old 3-wood, brought a few shafts out, tried different shafts in the driver, went to a new shaft in the driver, and it seemed to work out today,” McIlroy said, who hit 13 of 14 fairways and was third in strokes gained putting on the Caves Valley course on Thursday.


“It’s not as if I was driving the ball badly. I just had a driver I felt was spinning a little too much, so a couple of times last week into the wind I’d hit it and it would balloon up in the air and then if I wanted to try to hit a cut off the tee, I was not comfortable doing it because I felt like I was losing too much distance by hitting the cut.

“Getting a driver that just spins a little less just makes it more comfortable for me to aim up the left side and peel it off if I want to.

“And then the putter, It’s funny, I thought about it, I said to Harry after the first round last week, I’m thinking about going back to the Spider, and then I proceeded to gain four strokes on the greens over the next two days with the blade.

“But I think the thing with the blade is the good days are really good but the bad days are pretty bad, as well. There’s quite a lot of inconsistency in it for me. It’s almost like I need to practice with the blade at home because you have to get your stroke spot-on to hit good putts with that style of putter.

“But then when I come out here, I started hitting putts with the Spider again, and it felt so easy. Felt like I couldn’t not start it on line. It was sort of there’s a lesson in there somewhere about maybe just keeping the blade at home and practicing with it and then coming out here and putting with something that’s got a little more technology in it.”

And for those of you picturing McIlroy’s garage as some sort of McGuirks workshop, he insists that his collection of spare clubs is kept at a minimum, recognising that too much choice wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing to keep at home.

“No, not at all. Basically I have from 2014 onwards, but there’s a lot of stuff I just give away or give back,” he said. “But I’m not a hoarder. I keep a bunch of shafts that I’ve tried over the years and a bunch of stuff. I have a couple of sets of irons that I’ve won majors with and that sort of stuff. But yeah, there is; I’ve got a few things in there, and every so often something catches your eye, like oh, I remember that, or I’d like to try that again.

“But in terms of what I can actually play with, like current product, I don’t have that much. I sort of try to keep it to a minimum because I know if I have too much start I’ll just start to tinker, and that’s not a good thing.”

McIlroy sits 28th on the FedEx Cup table with the top-30 advancing into next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake. He’s projected to move inside the top-4 with a win this week. Shane Lowry was in a tie for 47th after a disappointing one-under 71.

  • Full scoring HERE
  • Full Lowry reaction HERE


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One response to “McIlroy dusts off old gear to drive his way to BMW lead”

  1. Joseph+Dreitler avatar

    Good article. Nice to know he has some old equipment in his house and he looks at it. Maybe switched equipment too much. He won his 4 majors with Titleist/Scotty Cameron & Nike. Played his best golf by far from 2010-14. Used blade putters. Old saying in US football, “you dance with what brung you”. Nicklaus won 18 majors with MacGregor woods and irons and putter.

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