Hoylake Champion Rory McIlroy Gear Talk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy’s switch to Nike in January 2013 was one of the most talked about equipment deals in history. His win at Hoylake supports everything he has been saying about his current club line and how it suits his game.

During an Open week when driver was a club rarely used by much of the field, Hoylake Champion Rory McIlroy used his to outstanding effect. McIlroy's dominant performance off the tee offered a major advantage over the field and took a great deal of pressure off the rest of his game. The golf bag of the Open Champion has been scrutinised more than any other since his signing with Nike in early 2013. Indeed, last year was a season when Rory failed to push on from his 2012 PGA victory and many blamed this slump on his club switch. Skip forward to January 2014 and Golf Monthly was given exclusive access to Rory McIlroy in Las Vegas where he spoke so positively about the Nike Covert 2.0 driver as well as the rest of the product that he genuinely seemed to be looking forward to using for the coming season.


At that event he also gave a convincing description of the many reasons 2013 wasn’t his year and none of them were related to equipment.


“For me, all I was thinking was if someone knows the golf swing and had looked at my swing at the start of the year and compared it to now, they'd see why I wasn't playing the way I wanted to,” Rory told us.

“It had nothing to do with equipment or a club change. For people that don't know, it's easy for someone to say, this is why you're struggling. The only people that know is yourself and the people closest to you.”


While it clearly wasn’t the overriding factor in a difficult season, it is obvious now that the original Nike VRS Covert wasn’t perfectly suited to McIlroy’s game. With the VRS Covert 2.0 though, he had direct input into the design and, combined with the Nike RZN Black ball, the setup is a match made in heaven. It’s this combination that lead to Rory telling us just two weeks ago that it was the best combination of ball and driver that he has ever used.


Watch Rory's latest 'In The Bag' video shot in the build up to his Open triumph.


Clearly McIlroy is a man in wonderful form and completely in charge of his golf swing, but this is also a swing that is perfectly in tune with the gear in his bag. Testament to his performance and bravery of the tee, Rory McIlroy averaged an incredible 328 yards off the tee at Hoylake – 45 more yards than the field’s average. The doubters have been silenced and it will be thrilling to see what Rory McIlroy can continue to do with a set of clubs that works perfectly for his game.

Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X