'I'm Much Happier' - Rory McIlroy Explains Equipment Changes

Rory McIlroy says he is happier with his new driver set-up and new putter as he looks ahead to the Masters at Augusta

Rory McIlroy takes a tee shot at the par 5 ninth during the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy says he was “much happier” with the new driver set-up he debuted at the WGC-Match Play, while also enjoying a positive first competitive outing with his new Scott Cameron putter.

McIlroy has gone to a shorter and softer shaft on his TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and it produced positive results during his first match at Austin Country Club, where he beat Scott Stallings 3&1. He has put in a Fujikura Ventus Blue TR 6 X shaft instead of his previous Ventus Black 6 X model

The Northern Irishman has also reverted back to a similar putter he used to win his first two Majors – putting a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 in the bag this week.

Both clubs seemed to be working nicely, with the 33-year-old feeling much more at ease off the tee - as he explained in his post-round interviews when talking about his changes.

Rory McIlroy lines up a putt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Driver was good. Driver was really good. I'm much happier with where I am there,” said McIlroy. “Obviously off the tee is such an important part of the game for me.

“I knew I just needed to change it up a bit going back to a driver length that I'm a little more comfortable with. But the thing is, going to 44 inch driver with the previous shaft I was using I was too stiff and I couldn't spin it.

“I needed to go to a slightly softer shaft and I can hit more shots with it and feel a bit more comfortable sort of playability-wise. I feel like I can hit a few more shots with it. It sort of hangs in there a little bit for me.

“So it was good to see. It was good to put it in play today and have to perform pretty well. Drove it well, especially on the back nine. It did pretty well today.”

McIlroy was also pleased with how his putter, what is essentially a replica of his former Scotty Cameron flat stick, performed as he admitted his gear changes came with one eye on Augusta and next month’s Masters.

“It's basically the same,” McIlroy added. “Just it has a line on the top just on the top line instead of on the flange.

“They made me one back in 2016 when Nike went out of the equipment business, when we all sort of were figuring out what to do, which was an exact replica. I just think what I'm trying to do with lining the ball up, the line on the top instead of on the flange matches up a little bit better for me.

“Putter was good. Struggled a little bit with the speed, so I'll probably go work on that a little bit, but a new putter in the bag and getting comfortable with that.

“It was good. It was solid. I made six birdies and one bogey and I played solid today.

“Obviously this part of the season you've got one eye on what you're doing now and one eye on Augusta. It's trying to do both.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.