The Golf Blog: Time for Rory McIlroy to shelve Nike clubs for Masters prep

mulligan, 29 March 2013, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: Time for Rory McIlroy to shelve Nike clubs for Masters prep
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The Golf Blog says: Enough already. Bring back the old Rory McIlroy!

After 9 rounds this year, Rory has broken 70 only twice, missed one cut, gotten eliminated in the first round of match play, and withdrew from the Honda Classic before he could shoot 44 on the front nine of the tournament he had won last year. Same time last year, Rory had hit 7 of 8 rounds in the 60s (an 88% rate), won 1 tourney and finished second and third in the two other tournaments (click here for stats). Yesterday, Rory again shot over par (73) and seemed pretty happy to shoot even that well.

Rory can blame his swing (which was so solid at the end of last year) or his lack of confidence. But do we really believe that his swing that has served him well all of his career can abandon him so quickly that his play is now so ordinary and erratic?

There’s a more obvious reason for Rory’s poor play: his switch to Nike clubs this year has not gone smoothly. Most times when people switch clubs, they expect to see immediate results. If they don’t, they switch back to their trusty old clubs. Why would anyone stick with a new club that makes him play worse? Professional golfers typically get paid to play certain clubs (often at first the same clubs they played as amateurs). That’s the difference. Nike paid Rory $100 million to switch. But we have yet to see Rory hit those clubs well or even just consistently. Even Tiger Woods had a period of transition in his switch to Nike clubs (for example, keeping a Scotty Cameron putter for a long time), and he occasionally switched back to his old clubs (for example, his driver).

With the Masters only a week away, Rory should put aside the Nike clubs and get his old Titleist clubs in the bag. Even if the old clubs provide only a little bit more confidence, that could be the difference in Rory winning his third major, especially with Tiger Woods firing on all cylinders. Rory needs to be playing at his best next week. He can’t be doubting his swing or his clubs. After the Masters, Rory can switch back to his Nike clubs. And, if Nike wants some of the $100 million back, we’re sure Rory won’t mind signing Nike a check in his first green jacket. Please bring back the old Rory McIlroy!


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