World number seven Rory McIlroy tees it up this week in Dubai with a new driver as he looks for his first win on the European Tour for over two years.
Speaking ahead of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, the Northern Irishman gave himself a ‘B, a B minus’ for the 2018 season; a year that included six top-tens on the European Tour with second-placed finishes at the Open Championship, BMW PGA Championship and Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) November 13, 2018
Following his struggles at Sun City where he finished T21, the four-time Major champion revealed that his last start of 2018 will include a re-jigged driver following some work with staff from TaylorMade.
‘Yeah, I did some work with Adrian from TaylorMade on Saturday night in Sun City,’ confirmed McIlroy.
‘I’ve just had this right miss with the driver all year. He came out and walked the first three rounds with me and he saw that, you know, I have no problem hitting the fairway with a 3-wood or a 5-wood. He just — something was wrong with the driver.
‘So he took the driver, tried to match it up a little closer to the 3-wood and change the swing weight, changed the shaft, changed the settings a little bit in the weighting and the head, and it’s been much better.
‘I drove it much better in Sun City and I drove it much better today in the Pro-Am. That’s a big positive coming into this week. Unfortunately it’s a driver that’s only going to last a week because I have to get a new one next year again, but at least it gives me a better chance to win this week, I guess.’
The Northern Irishman is not expected to be seen much on the European Tour schedule next year as puts his weight behind a bit to return to the top spot in the game.
He opened up on his struggles off the tee with a draw his preferred line of attack.
‘So I’ve had that right miss in the bag with the driver pretty much all year, and it’s never been a shot that I’ve had,’ he said.
‘It’s always been, if anything, I’d miss it left, I’d turn it over too much and for example, if I see a dead straight hole, I don’t see a dead straight shot. If anything, I see maybe a little draw, and I haven’t been able to do that this year. So I’ve sort of been playing against my natural instincts, which sometimes is tough to trust.
‘Yeah, it’s sort of been in the bag all year. I drove it well parts of the year, but then whenever I got into final groups and under pressure, that right shot began to become mora apparent.
‘So you’re always trying to make your equipment help you as much as you can. I think back to the first tee shot at Augusta on Sunday; Wentworth on the final day; Akron, final day; TOUR Championship, final day. The reason I didn’t play better was because I didn’t put the ball in the fairway, and the reason I didn’t put the ball in the fairway is because I have this right miss with the driver.
‘It’s better, this driver. Even some of the shots I hit on Sunday in Sun City, I felt if I had of put the same swing on it with the other driver, it would have been in the bushes right, but it actually was hanging in there which is great to see.
‘As I said, it was a lot of positives with it today and hopefully I’ll see more positives during the week with it, as well.’
McIlroy is expected to have a new 2019 model in play when he starts his 2018-19 PGA TOUR season off at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.