- Is one shot enough to justify a tweak? For Rory McIlroy at Augusta National it just may be. (Halleran/Getty Images)
HUMBLE, Texas — Professional golfers are incredibly particular about their yardages. Hitting a shot that doesn't go exactly 210 yards isn't a big deal for the average amateur, but for a player of Rory McIlroy's caliber, an extra yard or two could be the difference between scrambling for par and making birdie.
Maybe that's why we shouldn't be surprised that Rory McIlroy's going to incredible lengths to ensure his clubs are dialed-in for the upcoming Masters Tournament.
McIlroy spent Monday and Tuesday at Augusta National prepping for the year's first major and over the course of a couple days noticed there was one shot in particular that was giving him trouble: the tee shot on the 240-yard par-3 fourth hole.
If you've never seen the fourth hole in person, it has a deep bunker that fronts the right side of the green. According to McIlroy, he noticed during his practice rounds that he was between a 3- and 4-iron on the hole when hitting to the back pin positions.
"The last couple days playing off that back tee," McIlory said, "[I] was just struggling to clear that front right bunker [with a 4-iron]. It's okay to the front left pin but to the back pins."
McIlroy doesn't carry a 3-iron, so he said he may have to make an adjustment to his Nike VR Pro Blade 4-iron.
"I might strengthen my 4-iron by a degree for the fourth hole," McIlroy said, "because it's right in between a 3- and 4-iron for me."
That one degree could give McIlroy an extra three yards with the iron, which should be enough to clear the bunker and reach the back pin placement.
McIlroy also noted that he put in a new 59-degree Nike VR Forged lob wedge with fresh grooves, something he's done in the past in preparation for Augusta's firm greens. He also confirmed he'll be sticking with his usual four-wedge setup (47, 52, 56 and 59 degrees).
One degree might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you're talking about the difference between second-place and a Green Jacket, it pays to be dialed-in.