Two-time FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy got off to a blistering start on Thursday at the BMW Championship, firing an 8-under 64 after making a series of equipment changes.
Following his disappointing T43 finish last week at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National, McIlroy revealed that he tossed his 3-wood over the fence and in the direction of the New Jersey Turnpike, leaving him with some decisions to make before this week’s second event of the Playoffs.
A quick rummage around his garage did the trick. The Irishman told media this week that rifling through his old gear led him to some significant changes, including the revelation of a “new old 3-wood,” he said.
“It’s actually a 3-wood I used last year,” McIlroy said. “I went home, I went down to Florida after 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.”
As well as the 3-wood change, McIlroy put a Graphite Design Tour AD XC shaft in his TaylorMade SIM2 driver. He said the new setup reduces spin while still allowing him to draw the ball consistently.
“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,” McIlroy said. “And then if I wanted to try and 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.”
Another significant equipment change this week has been McIlroy’s return to the TaylorMade Spider putter. The four-time major champion had recently swapped the club out for a Scotty Cameron blade but has returned to the Spider as he believes his off-days with the blade are too punishing.
“I said to (caddie) Harry (Diamond) after the first round last week, I’m thinking about going back to the Spider,” he said, “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.”
Mcilroy also revealed that he may decide to practice with the blade at home while keeping the Spider for tournament play, as this week’s return to the mallet style has felt so easy after the small break.
“Felt like I couldn’t not start it on line,” he said. “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.”
McIlroy’s driver shaft change led him to hit all but one fairway in the first round of the BMW at Caves Valley Golf Club, while the return to the Spider helped him gain over three strokes on the greens.