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It’s Official: Rory McIlroy is with TaylorMade

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While Rory McIlroy didn’t specify exactly what he meant in his tweet at 11:02 a.m. Tuesday morning, “Final tweaks are made,” it was clear from the the presence of a custom TaylorMade Staff Bag in the photo that he had signed an endorsement contract with golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade.

Minutes later, the official details from TaylorMade hit inboxes. Rory had signed a long-term contract with the company, and he would switch to a full bag of TaylorMade clubs, including a TaylorMade golf ball.

Earlier this year, it appeared that McIlroy was primed to signed an equipment contract with a different company. He was using Callaway’s new Epic metal woods and muscleback irons, as well as a custom Odyssey putter. There was also some Titleist equipment in his bag: the company’s new wedges and its Pro V1x golf ball. By Masters time, McIlroy had switched out his Callaway fairway woods for new TaylorMade models. 

McIlroy’s equipment saga was the result of Nike’s decision to exit the golf equipment business in August, which left the four-time major champion an “equipment free agent.” He said he would take his time — maybe as much as a year — to find the absolutely best equipment for his game. Nine months later, the search has ended with TaylorMade.

“My future rests firmly in my hands,” McIlroy said. “That’s why I choose TaylorMade. I’ve been around the game long enough and have tested most clubs on the market, but I have never been as excited about equipment as I am right now.” 

McIlroy’s TaylorMade Clubs

Rory_McIlroy_WITB_2017_Feat

  • 2017 M2 Driver (9.5 degrees)
  • 2017 M2 Tour Fairway (13.5 degrees)
  • 2017 M2 Tour Fairway (19 degrees)
  • P750 Tour Proto Irons (3-4),- “Rors Proto” Irons (5-9)
  • Milled Grind Wedges (48, 54, 60 degrees)
  • TP5x Golf Ball / #22

Related: See all the TaylorMade clubs McIlroy is using this week at The Players

TaylorMade’s press release about the signing of McIlroy is filled with the typical hyperbole, and rightfully so for a company that currently has equipment deals with the top-3 ranked golfers in the world (Dustin Johnson, McIlroy and Jason Day), but there’s also some interesting tidbits.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 12.25.16 PM

For one, TaylorMade has designed a custom set of irons for McIroy called the “Rors Proto” that he will use as his 5-9 irons. And for those who think they can swing like McIlroy, TaylorMade passed along his launch monitor data with his new TaylorMade 2017 M2 driver.

246590-rorsnumbers-467282-large-1494277485-1

  • Ball Speed: 181 mph
  • Launch Angle: 12.3 degrees
  • Spin Rate: 2119 rpm
  • Average Carry Distance: 315.8 yards
  • Average Total Distance: 338.5 yards.
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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. The Real Swanson

    May 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Tosser.

  2. King of Carlsbad

    May 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Can Rory still collect when TM goes bankrupt?

  3. Teddy

    May 9, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I guess the Epic driver wasn’t so “Epic” for Rory…

  4. H

    May 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Let the TM dominance-Titleist take down finally come to its conclusion!

  5. Wenz

    May 9, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Fairly sure his driver is 8.5 stamped with the actual loft being 8.25 as written in sharpie.

  6. Tony Rich

    May 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Sellout……while he is chasing the money everywhere he goes…guys like Willett, Stenson and a guy named Walker are winning majors. He dominated tournaments with his Titleist sticks. He has become a question mark since joining Nike and now this. Stats said he hit 20% of his fairways last year using Taylor Made low CG driver, doubt he will improve on that.

  7. Moses

    May 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I didn’t know Rory was a “6 time” major champion.

  8. Judge Smells

    May 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I heard Wilson was in there right until they discussed the compensation involved

  9. Greg V

    May 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Looks like he’s opening his left hand at the top of the swing, in the picture. Could be trouble, although Bobby Jones got away with it.

  10. AndyUK

    May 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Watched the live interview with him earlier today where he stated he was excited to play the TP5 ball as it was much more suited to his game and windy conditions compared to the Pro V. Said he spend 10 days of intensive testing. Kick in the teeth to Titleist, which is no bad thing.

  11. Lewi

    May 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Looks to me, he has sold out to the highest bidder, used callaway through choice and the brand has boomed, Taylormade had no choice but to buy him to try and reverse the trend.
    Rory said he was staying club free for at least a year, amazing how money talks and changes people’s minds. Money obviously means more to him than titles

  12. golfraven

    May 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    You would think that Tiger and Rory now come as a pack of two. You cannot sign them up seperately. This is a big hit to Callaway and somehow the Epic line is loosing the charm since more and more players not hitting those drivers anymore. Wonder how much Tiger invested in TM and maybe Rory is joining to bail him out or both will take over TM. I guess Tiger will need to suck it up if Rory gets his signature clubs (irons and maybe wedges in the future).

  13. Tourgrinder

    May 9, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Can somebody with more TaylorMade insight than me please let me in on the secret as to why more pros seem to be gravitating toward the M2 rather than the M1. Even those with an M1 driver seem to choose M2 fairway models and hybrids. But…the M2 driver seems to be preference for pros such as DJ, Rahm, Rose, Tiger Woods, and now McIlroy, plus many, many others. I’ve probably overlooked a boatload of other pros using the M2 rather than the M1. I thought the M1 was the flagship model and the M2 was the game-improvement model, if you could call it that.

    • SH

      May 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      We all want to find fairways and the M2 is a tad more forgiving for most. Besides, with all the hot melting, it’s not like these heads don’t have weight near the front

  14. Ibo

    May 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I’d be excited too while pocketing $10M a year on top of $20M more from Nike.

    • Aaron

      May 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      This is technically inaccurate. Nike will supplement whatever Taylormade pays Rory to equal the amount they would have paid him (had he continued using their clubs). He’s technically making the same amount of money, just from two companies instead of one.

      • Earl

        May 16, 2017 at 12:31 am

        Well THAT is technically incorrect. For every amount above what Nike are paying RM, they will take “a percentage” out of his pay. So he is earning more.. just not the full 10 mil more.

  15. King of Carlsbad

    May 9, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Hard to understand how TM has the budget for these signings. They are losing close to 9 digits a year and can’t find a buyer. Odd…

  16. Chris

    May 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Taylormade’s player staff bill must be huge now, Rory, DJ, Jason Day, Sergio, Justin Rose…….

  17. chinchbugs

    May 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Can Nike just buy TaylorMade already….

  18. Philip

    May 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Sure he is playing the best equipment for his game, and it has nothing to do with him selling himself to the highest bidder … there is always more swampland for sale :o)

  19. Tom1

    May 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    exciting times……

  20. Eric

    May 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    He is using TMAG Proto Blades (saw a pic on instagram). Who knows who made them. Probably Miura. Just kidding, I have no idea.

  21. Soggy golfer

    May 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t see him playing TM irons maybe with the exception of the tour preferred blades. I feel like he has always played a firmer feeling iron and the TM P series is extremely soft. I know some really good players that tried them after a firmer feeling set (myself included) and it was counter productive.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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Equipment

Inside look: Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges on tour…6 months after launch

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Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges hit professional golf tours months ago. We reported on the launch extensively (see our videos later in the article) with deep coverage on the PGA Tour and at retail. As with any new offering, and especially for the gearheads on GolfWRX, it’s the tour chatter that drives us. What the pros do, play, and think is always a driving force.

However…

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the aftermath of a launch. What are the reactions and tweaks that are made once the shine has worn off?  It’s not uncommon for players to need to warm up to a new product before it ultimately finds its way into the bag permanently.

When Jaws hit the scene, it integrated quite quickly, and that is saying a lot. The MD4 was a very successful wedge line on tour and at retail. It was a huge initial launch and one Callaway was happy with as a solid portion of its staff put Jaws in play straight away.

In my conversations with tour staff and techs, spin and lower ball flight has been a recurring theme. In the case of the Tour, being able to flight a wedge down and not have it float, while maintaining maximum spin, is a weapon. Imagine being at Honda last week and knowing you can hit a knee-high fastball with a 58-degree wedge and trust the ball will stay down, not skip, and will stop dead in its tracks. On tour, its the speed of the stop that is valuable, not ripping it backward—that is typically only fun for TV. Golf these days is more like darts and less like billiards.

As to be expected, the grinds on all Callaway wedges are tour favorites. It’s pretty simple to fall in love with something that comes ought of the mind of Roger Cleveland, who has been the driving force in putting Callaway consistently at the No. 2 most-played wedge on Tour.

But how has the MD5  really done thus far?

Let’s be clear, most guys don’t make switches late-summer or fall (when MD5 was launched on tour). The season is too far down the river and the coming winter gives them quiet time to really test. Also, when you work through the California swing, a good portion of the higher-ranked staff only poke their heads out once or twice. This doesn’t mean the guys on the truck aren’t building new products, but a good portion of it is for winter testing, emergency backups, etc.

But now we hit the Florida swing. The Masters is a month away. The world’s best start to show up consistently, the playing surfaces change from the West Coast to the East Coast, and all of these guys are in full attack mode. Any real testing or guesswork is pretty much done, and it’s time to get going. This is the time when you can actually see if a product has staying power.

The question is since Jaws hit the scene, what have the pros learned, what adjustments have been made to dial them in, and ultimately, is this wedge line a success? I wanted to tackle this question from two different perspectives: from the reps on tour and two young staff players that have them in play.

In this case, there is the guy on the Callaway tour trailer who is in charge of wedges, Simon Wood, and young tour staffers Akshay Bhatia and Min Woo Lee.

Three unique perspectives—and also perspectives that give us an honest look at the performance and popularity of a “new” wedge on Tour.

I talk with Simon Wood quite a bit. He’s a good as they get in this category, having worked for years in Europe and on the U.S. tour. His knowledge is extensive and even more importantly, he is ridiculously honest. If the product is solid and he believes in it, he will tell you. If he goes quiet, there’s that too.

I caught up with him on a day off and this was the update he gave:

Wunder: It seems MD5 came out of the gates quickly and never really slowed down, are you surprised at the response?

Wood: Not at all. Truth is, these players are very particular about what makes it in or out of the bag. A new club has to do something better than the old one and do all the things they liked about the old one. The Jaws really spins. This is a unique groove system, and I’ve noticed the players like it for two main reasons 1) They can keep the trajectory down on the high lofts 2) they can be a bit more aggressive because of the amount of spin these wedges offer. Out on tour that’s a big deal.

Wunder: What percentage of staff (25+players on U.S. Tours) are in the MD5 across the board?

Wood: I’d say close to 50 percent, which is a good number considering how many good options are out there.

Wunder: Now that we are in the Florida swing, are you having to do anything special to adjust to the new grass and conditions?

Wood: No its the opposite actually. I think with the grooves being as good as they are and the number of options we have grind wise, we on the truck are doing less tweaking and grinding to wedges. That’s a sign one the R&D team did a great job with this design and two that our players trust our product enough to let their creativity take over.

Wunder: Any surprise grinds that are popping up more often?

Wood: It’s not a surprise because we knew it was good, but the low bounce W has been a hit thus far. Lots of guys testing and gaming that one.

I then went on to chat with Callaway staffers Min Woo Lee (winning WITB, podcast link below) and Akshay Bhatia on their experience with Jaws. This perspective was interesting because Akshay is young, he’s fighting for a place to play this summer, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing as a professional. Min just recently won in Australia and has enough time under his belt now to understand a real asset over something he’s still trying to make work.

Point is: pressure is high on both of these kids, and the last thing either wants to struggle with is their wedges.

Wunder: You were an early adopter of the MD5 last fall, have you noticed any significant improvement over your previous gamers?

Bhatia: Trust is the biggest one. I love the shape of these wedges and just knowing that Roger and Phil have an influence on the wedges you are playing gives me so much confidence. From a performance standpoint, I like the variety in grinds the MD5 offers. Anywhere I play I have an option, whether it be X in soft conditions or C for the firmer turf.

Wunder: With the aggressive grooves of the MD5, what shots have you gained that you didn’t have before?

Bhatia: Definitely the off-speed/three-quarter shots with some spin. These wedges really keep the ball down and it’s a bonus when I know I can take something off of a shot and the ball will stay down and hold its line into the wind.

Wunder: And your current set up is?

Bhatia: Currently, I’m in the Jaws MD5 50S, 54S bent to 55, and the 60C or X depending on the conditions (KBS $Taper 130X shafts in black with Iomic grips) with some heel and toe relief in the X. I also like to mess around wit the PM Grind 60 if I’m looking for a different look.

Young Callaway staffer Min Woo Lee, who recently triumphed at the European Tour’s Vic Open, has this to say

Wunder: What ball flight differences do you see in Jaws over the past wedge set?

MWL: Overall the same. I like to pick my trajectory. So if I didn’t like it,  I wouldn’t have put it in my bag…need to have every shot at my disposal.

Wunder: Do you do any extra grinding to your S?

MWL: Just in the 60, there is a little leading edge relief ground in. Prevents it from digging and gives me a bit more ability to be aggressive into it.

Wunder: Are there any other grinds you tried?

MWL: I tried the low bounce W and really liked, but the S grind has been my go-to for a long time, I know how to play with that one.

Wunder: As far as full shot turf interaction, why do you prefer the S?

MWL: The S is always what I’ve been into looks-wise, nothing else really caught my eye like that grind did. I do pretty good chipping around with it around the greens and we have some history so why mess with a good thing.

Overall, I think the MD5 wedge line has been a success on tour. Let’s be honest, wedges arent drivers, but identifying a popular line over another is quite interesting. These guys can get a TV remote ground into something useable, so when there is a shift across the staff to a new model, it validates that the ideas in it are sound and the wedge performs like it says it will. For larger tour staffs like Callaway has, operating a 50 percent clip for full line use is a really solid number.

Let’s be clear here, Callaway hasn’t made a bad wedge…like ever. From X Forged to the MD line and now into Jaws, Roger and the team know what they are doing. In my experience with these wedges, I will say that the grooves are ridiculously aggressive, and as Bhatia mentioned, there is a grind to satisfy any conditions.

Do most OEMs make solid wedges? The answer is of course they do; they all do. But the advantage that Callaway has over the rest in this category is Roger Cleveland. Having the man who inspired some of the most iconic wedge shapes ever coupled with a superb R&D team yields a combination that will deliver quality and performance time after time.

Here are some pics from the forums of MD5 out on tour now.

Akshay BhatiaFrancesco Molinari
Brendan GraceIsaiah SalindaJ.J. SpaunAlex Noren
Chun An YunHenrik Stenson Matt Wallace 

Si Woo Kim

Check out the videos below to see me and one of our forum members put Jaws MD5 to the test!

 

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