Could two new clubs, his longest & shortest, finally lead McIlroy to a green jacket?

Fatiha Betscher

Rory McIlroyn (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Not since Nike Golf stopped making golf clubs has so much attention been focussed on Rory McIlroy’s tools of trade.

With the hosting of the 87th Masters just two weeks away, McIlroy may have found a key, well two keys, that hopefully could lead to him unlocking the front door to one of the most elite clubs in all of golf.

After the clear frustration in missing the cut in last fortnight’s Players Championship, McIlroy headed straight to Augusta National, playing 54-holes over the course of two days, a golf course where he made his debut in 2009 and was runner-up a year ago.


In between, McIlroy had six other top-10s at golf’s ‘Cathedral in the Pines’, as he strives to capture the one major championship he so desires and become only the sixth person in the history of the men’s game to have captured all four major championships.

McIlroy has put two clubs, a shorter shaft driver, and a new putter, into his bag for this week’s final hosting of the WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship in Austin, Texas.

The result (in his opening foray at least) was a comfortable first-up 3&1 success over American Scott Stallings on day one of the $20m event.

The win, while never in doubt, was very reassuring for McIlroy’s new tools of trade as he explained.

“You look at my driving accuracy and it’s down around 50%, which is quite low for me. Strokes gained, I’m hitting the ball a long way so strokes gained over — maybe overvalued length sometimes depending on the course”, he said.

“I just needed to change it up a bit going back to a driver length that I’m a little more comfortable with. But the thing is, going to the 44 inch driver with the previous shaft I was using was too stiff and I couldn’t spin it.

“The new 44-inch shafter is a slightly softer shaft and I can hit more shots with it and feel a bit more comfortable sort of playability-wise.

“So it was good to see the results out there today. It was good to put it in play today and have to perform pretty well. Drove it well, especially on the back nine.

“This part of the season you’ve got one eye on what you’re doing now and one eye on Augusta. It’s trying to do both”.

As for the putter – a black shaftScotty Cameron Tour-Only 009-M model?

“It’s pretty much as the one they made for me back in 2016 when Nike went out of the equipment business, when we all sort of were figuring out what to do, which was an exact replica,” said McIlroy.  “I just think what I’m trying to do with lining the ball up, the line on the top instead of on the flange matches up a little bit better for me.

“This one I am now using has a line on the top just on the top line instead of on the flange. So, yeah, it’s basically the same.

“It was a good first start for both those clubs, and they both performed pretty well”.

One last question to McIlroy and that is what happened to his old putter?

“I think my dad has it. Yeah, I don’t know. I think my dad has it somewhere”, said McIlroy smiling.

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