Rory McIlroy’s change to Nike in January 2013 was one of the most talked about equipment switches 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, Rory McIlroy used his to outstanding effect. His 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. It 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 we were given exclusive access to Rory 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.
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, McIlroy averaged in 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 can continue to do with a set of clubs that works perfectly for his game.