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Rory McIlroy switches to Callaway, Titleist clubs in South Africa

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Update: The European Tour shared close-ups of Rory McIlroy’s new clubs on social media. The photo shows at least three Vokey SM6 wedges in his bag, as well as an Odyssey putter cover. 

As reported by No Laying Up on December 31, Rory McIlroy has made wholesale changes to his golf equipment at the European Tour’s South Africa Open, which begins January 12. A photo from Golf Central Daily‘s Facebook page shows McIlroy with a set of custom Callaway Apex MB irons in his bag, confirming the validity of the photo that was posted in our forum four days ago by GolfWRX Member ghost5.

RoryMcIlroyCallawayirons-1021x580

Photo from GolfWRX Member ghost5.

The photo also shows McIlroy with at least one Titleist Vokey SM6 wedge in his bag. He is said to be playing a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball as well.

15977488_1111465598964055_6641995258022000623_nAn Instagram video posted by the European Tour also confirms that McIlroy is using Callaway’s new GBB Epic Sub Zero driver with a Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage shaft.

A VIDEO POSTED BY EUROPEAN TOUR (@EUROPEANTOUR) ON

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. golfraven

    Jan 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    We all know he is a Titleist guy. Those blades could easily have Titleist written all over it. And the Epic woods are a 915 Hasbeens. You can pain those “irish” green as you like and they will still look like Titleist.

    • Ben

      Jan 16, 2017 at 9:40 am

      No, he is not a Titleist man,otherwise he wouldn’t of switched to Nike,plus Titleist woods and irons are so tired and lack any ground breaking tech,wedges are the only clubs i use,and the forged version.

  2. Jay

    Jan 11, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I think the sound in the slow mo videos of Rory hitting the M2 sounded much better.

  3. Jim

    Jan 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

    For me they look like 100% custom made, by Callaway or some other brand (as were his Nike irons). Probably nothing in common with Callaway stock irons.

  4. Bjorn Yesterday

    Jan 11, 2017 at 7:37 am

    European tour website is saying the fairway woods are m2s apparently

  5. Frank

    Jan 11, 2017 at 12:15 am

    Bet those Irons are Miura with Callaway stamping? I knew there was no way he’d play the real Callaway Apex MB. What a laugh this all is!

    • Brian

      Jan 11, 2017 at 10:36 am

      They definitely look like the Tournament Blades

      • PKennedy13

        Jan 11, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        I dont understand why in the close up pictures they look so beat up. Its almost like he’s been using them for a while. Does anyone have any idea why?

  6. Kevin Gardner

    Jan 11, 2017 at 12:11 am

    How is there no news/images of his putter? He’s playing on Thursday, surely he has been practicing putting..

  7. mhendon

    Jan 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    There’s know way he’s playing those Callaway’s without some kind of financial agreement. They where simply the top bidder.

  8. TM

    Jan 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    All of you people are morons if you think this has anything to do with spin, brands, etc.! It’s about the money! Nothing he will ever play will be close to what 99.99% of us will ever use let alone ever see.

  9. C

    Jan 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Do we know the putter?

  10. MT

    Jan 10, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    and what you have to know is that he doesn’t play McDaddy wedges but decided on Titlest. It seems like a good choice.

  11. MT

    Jan 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    anyone knows if he plays proV1x or a harder version of that ball that is available to tour players only?

  12. jgpl001

    Jan 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    What a ho!

    Well done Rory, now you are a true WRX’er

  13. Prime21

    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    The driver sounds kind of hollow.

  14. Matt Waite

    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Question: If the PROV1X spins too much with the Nike irons, then what ball works best with the Nike irons? Anyone have any insight? Im guessing Nikes ball, but since they no longer make them…. what ball works best? Maybe this is really a question for Crossfield

  15. G

    Jan 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    He is going to ROCK those things for sure!!

  16. Tom

    Jan 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Handsome irons. I think Callaway will be a good fit for Rory.

  17. Ryan

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Just showing Callaway is making the most superior equipment right now. All the years developing a similar face technollogy and not jumping from gimmick to gimmick like Tailormade.

    • Hil

      Jan 10, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Yeah and that sliding weight thing in the back and the two-bars aren’t gimmicks ????

    • Brian

      Jan 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      lol…he’s not even playing commercially available irons, so I don’t know how you’re drawing this conclusion.

  18. JustTrying2BAwesome

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    These are fully custom irons. Nothing like the Apex MB’s. Looks something like a cross between Mizuno MP33 and Taylormade Tour Preferred MB. Why then would he have Calloway make these for him? His comments to NLU said he knew he was going to play ProV1X, that his Nikes would be too spinny with that ball and that these irons work the best with it. But these aren’t a known club so why Calloway? Is he considering a full Calloway bag? He’s pretty close as it is right now.

    • Tom

      Jan 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

      They look a lot like the tournament blades he’s been playing his entire career. Now they just have a Callaway logo vs a Nike one.

    • nolper

      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      callAway

    • Brian

      Jan 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Callaway is one of three manufacturers that can afford him and allow him to play custom irons that look nothing like they offer at retail; Titleist and Taylormade being the other two. Been there, done that with Titleist, plus I don’t think they pay nearly as well as Callaway and TM on club deals.

      I’m guessing TM already has too much $ sunk into DJ, Day, Rose, Garcia, etc and likely aren’t looking to sign any big endoresement deals while they’re trying to find a buyer. All that being the case, Callaway makes the most sense.

  19. Frank Gifford

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I believe we will now see a lot of the top pros going to a mixed bag now. They don’t need the money and can play whatever now.

    • JustTrying2BAwesome

      Jan 10, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Only the Nike guys. Everyone else is under full equipment contracts, except the Nike guys. They’re the only ones with the contractual freedom to play whatever they want, generally speaking.

      • Chopper

        Jan 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        I think what you would find if you were able to actually read all of these contracts is that the majority of them are not “full equipment contracts” but rather a number of clubs in the 8, 9, 10, 11 range.

    • Tom

      Jan 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Many might not need the money, but few has as much as Ror’s, where it’s entirely possible that anything that isn’t a 9 figure contract might not be taken as seriously.

      Plus, with his Nike contract, he still get’s the entire contract, less what any other company pays him, so if he gets paid by Callaway or not isn’t really relevant, unless they’d pay him more than Nike, which isn’t likely. He worked out a pretty sweet deal with Nike in that regards. If they were paying him $250M, and he took $100M from Callaway, he would still get $150M from Nike, on top of the $150M from Nike.

    • gwillis7

      Jan 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

      I love it, it is nice to see what they really deem will give them the best chance to win

  20. Michael

    Jan 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Very interesting…

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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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Equipment

True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Equipment

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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