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July 17 2013

5:29 PM

McIlroy: New pear-shaped driver

Rory McIlroy is still seeking his first win of 2013. (Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

Most of the players in this week's British Open field plan to use fairway woods, hybrids and driving irons off the tee, but one high-profile name is planning to flip the script at Muirfield and use driver often -- for British Open standards -- off the tee.

That player? World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who said during Wednesday's press conference that he could hit driver anywhere between five to seven times, depending on the wind.

The driver he'll be using at Muirfield this week, however, won't be his usual Nike VR_S Covert Tour. Following a missed cut at the Irish Open, McIlroy went to work with Nike reps to rectify his poor driving this season that currently has him 103rd in driving accuracy and 91st in rough tendency.

Struggling to square the club face up at impact, McIlroy went with a new Nike VR_S Covert Tour prototype that, according to the two-time major winner, has more of a pear shape and helped get rid of drives going right.

"I've got a new driver in the bag, which is slightly different than the one I have been using, it's a different head shape. More of a pear shape, but it encourages the club face to close over a little bit more. My bad drive this year has been losing it to the right. So this is encouraging the club face to square up on impact and obviously I'm not getting that right shot anymore, which is a huge plus."

Based on photos from Muirfield, the shape of the driver isn't the only thing that's different. Like the prototype VR_S Covert Tour driver Tiger Woods was testing this week, McIlroy's driver also lacks a weight screw in the sole.

The difference between the two prototypes is the adjustable hosel, called Flex Loft, in McIlroy's driver, which would lead you to believe he's using either Version 3 or Version 4 of VR_S Covert Tour -- both lack a weight screw but have an adjustable hosel -- on the USGA's List of Conforming Driver Heads.

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