Equipment Report

    Rory McIlroy swaps fairway woods for the Masters

  • Rory McIlroy has three straight top-10 finishes (T8, T4 and T10) at the Masters Tournament. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)Rory McIlroy has three straight top-10 finishes (T8, T4 and T10) at the Masters Tournament. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy will have two new fairway woods in his bag when he tees it up on Thursday at the Augusta National. After switching to Callaway GBB Epic woods at the beginning of the year, McIlroy made a change on the eve of the Masters, replacing the 3- and 5-wood with TaylorMade's '17 M2 Tour 3-wood and M2 5-wood. 

Hoping to solidify the top of his bag before the year's first major, McIlroy made a trip to Augusta last week armed with a variety of fairway wood options to test in search of a fairway wood-ball combination that negated spin and fit the course setup. 

 "I felt with the ball that I'm playing at the minute, it's quite spinny," McIlroy said. "I needed a couple of fairway woods that didn't spin quite as much, and I needed a couple of fairways that I thought I could turn over easier.  I brought quite a few clubs with me on the trip last week and those two seemed to be the ones that work the best for me.

"Practiced with them this week, or last week in Florida and I feel comfortable with them. That's basically the reason. It's just that they fit this golf course a little bit better than the other ones did."

The TaylorMade '17 M2 Tour 3-wood that will be in McIlroy's bag has a more compact head and forward weight port in the sole that's designed to improve turf interaction for players who prefer to vary shot shape and trajectory. 

McIlroy's club setup has remained fluid since the end of last season when Nike Golf announced it would cease hard-goods production (golf clubs, balls and bags) going forward — turning the four-time major winner into an equipment free agent. 

McIlroy has embraced his equipment freedom over the last five months, using woods, irons, wedges and putters from Callaway, Nike, TaylorMade and Titleist. The fairway woods have changed more than any club in the bag. 

McIlroy started with TaylorMade M2 fairway woods at the WGC-HSBC Champions before adding a TaylorMade M1 3-wood at the DP World Tour Championship. He eventually swapped the TaylorMade fairways for Callaway's GBB Epic at the 2017 BMW South African Open and kept the clubs in the bag until this week. 

"It's a nice position to be in," McIlroy said of his ability to change equipment. "You have the freedom to try what's out there, but again, it would be nice at some point to have a very settled bag where I know what I'm using week‑in, week‑out. I feel like I'm nearly at that point but not quite.       

"But I feel like what I have in my bag this week will be adequate enough to do the job if I can make good swings with them."

Along with adding new fairway woods to the bag, McIlroy appears to have a different set of Callaway Apex MB irons. Unlike the raw-finish heads McIlroy put in play at the beginning of the year, the new set has a chrome look that's more in line with the Apex MB prototypes other Callaway staffers have been using this season.