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Has Rory McIlroy made big equipment change ahead of his first 2023 start?

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy with Vokeys at a practice round

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy will begin his season at DP World Tour's 2023 Dubai Desert Classic. Just a month into the year, McIlroy has his task cut out for him: stopping Jon Rahm from dethroning him from the World No. 1 spot.

If the Spanish golfer's recent performances are anything to go by, he is possibly having the most brilliant start to the season. He has won two tournaments in January alone and has been victorious in four of his last six starts.

Rory McIlroy will have to pull up his socks and hit it off the park at the upcoming 2023 Dubai Desert Classic. He was already pictured practicing hard before the big tournament.

However, eagle-eyed fans noticed something strange in his pictures from his practice round with Tommy Fleetwood. He was seen testing out some Vokeys. To add to that, they were even stamped with 'RM.'

🚨NEW: Rory appears to have a set of Titleist Vokey wedges in the bag to start 2023. Unconfirmed thus far, but worth noting. twitter.com/i/web/status/1… https://t.co/tOaQpG8Spm

McIlroy has been in an equipment sponsorship deal with TaylorMade since 2017. In 2022, he renewed his contract to a multi-year extension. He had also talked about being excited to work with the brand for "many years to come."

It is no secret that McIlroy will use TaylorMade's brand new TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway wood and Stealth 2 Plus driver. The company's official website also mentions that he will use TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 wedges and a TP5x Dz golf ball.

Interesting development in Dubai where Rory McIlroy was spotted with at least one Vokey wedge in the bag. Looks to be a 58K lob with "RM" stamped on the back. https://t.co/RjOOFF2FwK

So it came as a surprise to see McIlroy test the Vokeys. After Nike stopped manufacturing golf equipment, he was an equipment-free agent. In that period, he used Vokeys.

Well, fans will have their eyes trained on which clubs he finally uses at the 2023 Dubai Desert Classic. His tee time is scheduled at 7:40 am local time alongside Ryan Fox and Tommy Fleetwood.


Did Patrick Reed throw a golf tee at Rory McIlroy?

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed (Image via Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed (Image via Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The golf world has seldom been without controversies. When one thinks everything is peaceful, there is some new tea to serve.

This time an actual golf tee, pun intended.

It is no secret that US golfer Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy have been after each other's heads for a while. Reed, who defected to the controversial LIV Golf series last year, is suing the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour. On Christmas Eve, his lawyer also sent a subpoena to McIlroy for being a "co-conspirator" in a class action case.

However, Reed might have tried to bury the hatchet in Dubai. But what transpired may have sharpened it instead.

Recent reports suggested that Patrick Reed threw a golf tee at Rory McIlroy after the latter ignored him at the golf course. Reed saluted McIlroy's caddie and also greeted the golfer.

However, the World No. 1 ignored Reed even after the latter waited for a few seconds for acknowledgment. This prompted Reed to shove his hands in his pocket and walk away in disgust. He grabbed a golf tee from his pocket and threw it at McIlroy.

NUCLR Golf tweeted about this:

"According to reports in Dubai, Patrick Reed threw a golf tee at Rory McIlroy after the world #1 ignored him on the range."
🚨#NEW: According to reports in Dubai, Patrick Reed threw a golf tee at Rory McIlroy after the world #1 ignored him on the range.

"I'd be expecting a lawsuit from him" - Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed
Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed

Rory McIlroy addressed the incident at a press conference before the upcoming Dubai Desert Classic. He said he didn't see the tee coming at him.

"I didn't see it. I was down by my bag and he came up to me, and I was busy working and sort of doing my practise, and I didn't really feel like, I didn't feel the need to acknowledge him."

However, he added that if the positions were reversed, he would have a lawsuit at his hand.

β€œSo I didn't see a tee coming my direction at all, but apparently, that's what happened. And if roles were reversed and I'd have of thrown that tee at him, I'd be expecting a lawsuit from him."

He said he hadn't ducked because he hadn't seen the tee coming.

"I didn't duck. I didn't see it, no. My back was turned to him."

After being pressed for details, he explained what happened:

"Nothing. Patrick came up to say hello and I didn't really want him to. In my... from my recollection, that was it. I didn't see a tee. I didn't feel a tee. Obviously someone else saw that. But it's definitely a storm in a teacup. Obviously nothing... I can't believe it's actually turned into a story. Yeah, it's nothing."

McIlroy, however, said that considering the legal action that Patrick Reed has taken against him, he shouldn't have expected a warm greeting.

"I mean, exactly, right. Like that's... I mean, I got a subpoena on Christmas Eve. I mean, I don't see your... like, you can't pretend like nothing's happening, right. I think that's the thing. Like why... we are living in reality here."

He later admitted that Reed's lawsuit was an issue, and if he were in Reed's shoes, he wouldn't expect a greeting.

"Yeah, I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So of course, trying to have a nice time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers that, you're not going to take that well. So again, I'm living in reality, I don't know where he's living. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn't expect a hello or a handshake."

When asked if he could see himself mending bridges with Reed, McIlroy only had an incredulous expression for a response.

That is a clear answer, indeed.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht
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