May 11, 2020
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
- A behind-the-scenes look at Rory McIlroy's TaylorMade SIM driver. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Professional golf resumes with Sunday’s charity exhibition, the TaylorMade Driving Relief best-ball Skins match, with the team of Rory McIlroy-Dustin Johnson facing the team of Rickie Fowler-Matthew Wolff at legendary Seminole. All proceeds from the match will go to COVID-19 relief.
Although not long by today’s standards, Seminole is tough and will require the very best of each player to navigate the famed track.
GolfWRX has identified a key club for each of the four golfers and will highlight one a day this week.
McIlroy’s TaylorMade SIM driver
Loft: 10.8 degrees set at 8.8 (FCT Sleeve 2 degrees in lower setting)
Length: 45.5 inches (measured to end of grip), tipped 1 inch
Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX
Lie: 59.25 degrees
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet BCT 58R (+2 wraps, logo down)
He's the poster child of the TrackMan era. No one in the game garners more attention and awe for his driving prowess than Rory McIlroy.
At Seminole, McIlroy's TaylorMade SIM driver will be the key to his performance. If he has that club going, it could be a long day for Team Fowler/Wolff. All of the four players hit it a mile, but Rory has an extra gear that, in this format and on this golf course, could get scary.
His relationship with TaylorMade golf started in 2017 and it's fair to say the endeavor has been nothing short of spectacular. GolfWRX sat down with TaylorMade Tour Rep Adrien Rietveld, and this is what he had to say on McIlroy and his SIM driver.
WRX: What's the fitting process like with Rory?
ADRIEN RIETVELD: “It all starts at the fall/winter photoshoot were we will introduce him to the new product and build him something that's in his ballpark. Once that is done and he is comfortable with the shape and technology, we will send him home with some heads to test and familiarize himself. At the point when the season is drawing near, Keith Sbarboro [TaylorMade's head of sports marketing] will make his way out to Rory's pad with a TrackMan and do a deep dive into getting it just right.
“This year at Torrey, we went a bit deeper and discovered he was better off in a 10.5-degree head opened up and from there he was off to the races.”
WRX: What improvements did he find over his M5?
REITVELD: “In the M5, his launch was 12.5-13 degrees with 2,400 RMP of spin. SIM seemed to give him an extra gear: He went up to 13.5-14 degrees of launch and 2,200/2,300 RPM of spin, which at that level, is substantial. Ball speed went from high 170s to low 180s on average. To be able to find someone like Rory an extra 7-8 yards of carry is a big deal. The rich simply get richer in that scenario.”
WRX: Why the loft setting 10.8 opened to 8.8?
REITVELD: “First off, on TOUR, the lofts of each head are measured to exact specs. That's where the .8 comes from. At this level, everything is dialed into the exact number for that player.
“In regards to the loft sleeve setup, that's simply a face angle preference. In an 8-degree head, set at his preferred loft, it would be closed, at 9, optically it wasn't quite right to match up to the numbers he preferred. 10.5 opened to 8.5 it achieves everything he wants numbers and face angle.”
COMING TUESDAY: Dustin Johnson’s key club