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Rory McIlroy arrives in Austin with new putter and driver shaft

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Rory McIlroy arrives in Austin with new putter and driver shaft

    Written by GolfWRX

    Following a missed cut at THE PLAYERS Championship, Rory McIlroy has made several significant changes to his equipment setup for this week’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

    Among the new gear in his bag for his Tuesday practice round at Austin Golf Club was a new putter, fairway wood, wedge and a different shaft in his driver. With speculation around what McIlroy would do to solve the driver issue going forward, especially with The Masters looming, caught up with McIlroy Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. What we found was a new shaft in his driver. McIlroy now has a Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 6 X shaft in his Stealth 2 driver. The change is intended to help him get more spin with his shortened 44-inch driver construction, he said.

    This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that he’s made changes in his bag. McIlroy made a mid-event driver switch to the new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus model at The Genesis Invitational in February. The new driver provides a touch more spin and looks more square at address than his previous Stealth driver. It’s also helped him pick up ball speed for more distance, he said.

    In a post-round interview two weeks ago at TPC Sawgrass, however, McIlroy, expressed displeasure with the state of his driving. McIlroy shot 76-73 to miss the cut at THE PLAYERS, a tournament he won in 2019.

    “I’m obviously trying my best, trying to get something that’s as close to what I had last year,” said McIlroy, who leads the TOUR in Driving Distance this season. “I have just struggled a little bit off the tee the last couple weeks. This (driver) is as close as it’s been. There’s obviously a part of it that’s the user, as well. It’s quite a lot of user error in there as well.”

    Since shorter shafts tend to play a bit stiffer than standard lengths, McIlroy’s previous shaft, a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X, wasn’t spinning enough. While some golfers would simply increase loft on the head for more spin, McIlroy said that he doesn’t like to look at too much loft on his driver.

    McIlroy told that he switched into a Fujikura Ventus TR Blue shaft in his TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus 3-wood at THE PLAYERS, which sparked his interest in testing the same model of shaft in his driver.

    “It’s nice; it’s a bit more of a lively feel,” McIlroy said. “I’m liking playing the driver shorter these days, and that black shaft just got so boardy. (The TR Blue) still has got that real stable feel in the handle. … I hate looking at loft, so if I’m not playing a driver with more loft, I have to get the spin from somewhere.”

    Speaking of woods, McIlroy also has a new 5-wood in the bag this week. He is using a Stealth 2 Plus 5-wood with a Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X shaft. According to TaylorMade, the club has similar launch and spin characteristics to his previous club but flies straighter and with less curve.

    GolfWRX also spotted a TaylorMade MG3 Raw 54-degree wedge in his bag to go along with his 58-degree Titleist Vokey wedge. He also played his practice round with a new custom Scotty Cameron Tour-Only 009-M putter with a black steel shaft.

    It’s not the first time McIlroy has turned to a Scotty Cameron blade. He has done so at different points throughout his career, most recently at the 2021 Olympics, but he's mostly kept a TaylorMade Spider Hydro Blast mallet in the bag in recent years. McIlroy ranks 173rd in Strokes Gained: Putting this season, though. He told GolfWRX that he’s “trying to rekindle an old flame” with the switch.

    McIlroy’s first competitive test with the new equipment comes at 11:26 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday at Austin CC when he takes on Scott Stallings in the opening round of pool play.

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