Rory is ready to experiement with new clubs after the DP World Tour Championship
By now, all golf fans know about Nike's imminent exit from the golf equipment industry. What that means for it's staffers is that they have the freedom to change clubs whenever they want without being answerable to Nike Golf.
Rory McIlroy is one of the many Nike players who have been testing out the TaylorMade M2 driver and fairway woods in recent weeks. The M2 series is the most played on tour and the likes of Rory and Paul Casey have seen a notable difference in performance between the Nike Vapor and the M2.
Rory was seen putting the woods in play at the WGC HSBC Champions event after he had previously said at the Barclays "I might start tinkering a little bit in the offseason and see what else is out there".
His performance with the woods was visibly better and some of the numbers picked up off his trackman session showed that he was consistently carrying the ball 330 yards.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday ahead of the DP World Tour Championship this week, he said that his bag could be a mix of clubs as he figures out what suits him the best.
"It's really all up in the air," he said. "I might find a ball that works. I might find a set of irons that work. It could be a real mix-match of golf clubs in my bag come early 2017. But it's nice to have the option."
Aside from the equipment change in his woods, he has also tweaked the setup of his new woods. His new TaylorMade driver was set at “lower” which means his 9.5 degree driver was actually playing at 7.5 degrees- a whole degree lower than his Nike driver.
He has also changed shafts to a Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage prototype shaft in his driver and fairway woods. He has often changed shafts in his driver but had played the Fujikura Rombax Pro 95X shaft in his fairway woods since his days as a member of Titleist's tour staff.
The rest of the setup of his bag remains intact with him continuing to play the Nike VR Pro blades and Nike Engage wedges. He had also switched to a Scotty Cameron M1 Concept putter earlier.
"I don't really expect to sign with anyone next year," McIlroy said at The Barclays earlier this year. "I'd rather just have a year of going and playing what I want and being comfortable, and if I come across something that I really like and I'm really comfortable with, obviously I'll look to sign a longer-term deal."
Rory added that he had been approached by all kinds of equipment manufacturers enquiring about whether or not he would be interested in using their equipment. He will continue to use the M2 woods this week in Dubai after he was pleased with how they performed in China.
He has a big experimental test lined up where he will try and gauge an understanding of what equipment/manufacturer best suits his style.
"After this tournament, I'm going to go -- I've got a little bit of travel to do, but I'm coming back here to Dubai in the middle of December for 10 days and I'm going to test," he said. "I'm going to spend a few days with a few different equipment companies and test and see what they have, and really just see what works best for me."
Rory is refreshed and with a revamped putting stroke, he'll be looking to play his way back to being World number 1 for the first time since June 2015 by winning the DP World Tour championship.