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Rory McIlroy’s putter builder speaks on his winning TaylorMade Soto proto

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It’s no secret that Rory McIlroy’s biggest weakness has historically been with his putter. But ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he won by two shots, McIlroy made a putter switch and ended up with just 100 putts for the week — the lowest in his PGA Tour career. He also finished first in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, and put on a putting display for the ages on Sunday to shoot 64 (he birdied 5 of the final 6 holes).

Related: Rory’s Winning WITB from the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational 

What’s so special about this putter? To figure that out, I spoke with TaylorMade’s International Tour Director Chris Trott, who worked directly with McIlroy on building his new putter.

Trott explains that McIlroy showed up to Bay Hill “with a different kind of confidence” that week. His caddie, Harry Diamond, showed up to the TaylorMade Tour Truck on Monday night (McIlroy wasn’t on site Monday) with a previous putter of McIlroy’s — a Scotty Cameron that he won multiple majors with, according to Trott — and he wanted to have a new putter built that matched up with the specs of it. “He came with a plan and he wanted to be on spec,” says Trott. So the TaylorMade team sent Harry off to the hotel Monday night with a TaylorMade TP Soto with no face insert, one with an insert, some other variations, and they sent him back to the hotel with a few Spiders, as well, according to Trott.

But since Trott says that McIlroy liked the feel of his previous gamer, Trott thought it was best to send a request back to TaylorMade’s offices in Carlsbad for a TP Black Copper Soto with a midslant neck and a Suryln insert in preparation for McIlroy’s arrival the next day. “Nine out of 10 times we already have a head with the insert in it [inside the tour truck], but this putter is so new,” says Trott. “It’s not even out yet.”

Trott says McIlroy showed up to the Tour Truck the next morning, but he “wasn’t enamored” with the options, although he did fancy the solid face Soto. Here’s the photo notes that Trott took of the solid-faced Soto that McIlroy liked.

Good thing Trott sent that request back to the office, though! The first words out of McIlroy’s mouth when he saw the new TP Black Copper Soto slant neck proto with the Suryln insert, according to Trott, were “Hmm, that’s nice.” But he wanted to tweak the specs. He wanted the putter an eighth of an inch shorter and 3-to-4 swingweight points lighter. Eventually, Trott also added 0.25 degrees of loft to the face compared to McIlroy’s gamer, and made it 1-degree more upright.

The new putter Trott concocted also had a Golf Pride Tradition grip on it, and McIlroy had him change it to a TaylorMade Red Cap Pistol grip.

So, McIlroy took to the putting green with the solid face Soto and the Black Copper slant neck proto with the Surlyn insert. After a few drills, McIlroy decided he liked the feel and look of the Trott concoction, and while he really liked the Black Copper finish, he did have concerns about how it would hold up in the weather.

In the end, McIlroy decided on the TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto proto. Here are the photo notes that Trott took from inside the trailer while holding McIlroy’s (eventual) winning putter.

The numbers in the photo above mean the specs of McIlroy’s putter are as follows:

  • Weight: 508.3 grams
  • Swing weight: D1
  • Lie angle: 71.25 degrees
  • Loft: 2.75 degrees
  • Length: 34.25 inches

Here are photos that we shot of the putter on Tuesday of the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play:

It’s safe to say McIlroy made the right decision for Bay Hill, and according to Trott, he’ll likely be sticking with the putter going forward. And if not, surely Trott and his team will be there with 7-10 more putter options for McIlroy to try out and hand-pick from. Must be nice to be Rory!

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Rory’s putter in our forums.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. todd page

    Mar 30, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    It’s basically a Scotty Monterey 1.5 just different color.

  2. Brando

    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    The putter has a flow neck different from the plumbers neck he has used in the past so it is a different style putter. Also you can take any off the rack quality milled anser style putter And adjust loft and lie cut it down lengthin it add weight ect to get it just how you want it like the pros do. Is not rocket science just make sure the guy adjusting loft and lie knows what he’s doing getting harder to find knowledgeable clubfitters these days and not a kid at Golf Galaxy whoes only been changing grips for a few weeks. Sweet putter hope Rory keeps it’s flowing he may be the best in the World when he’s playing like last week.

  3. Branden

    Mar 21, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    So Rory basically designed his own version of a Nike Method Core but in the Method Matter color?
    Looks identical, except with “Taylor Made” stamped on it.

  4. Tom

    Mar 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Basically a Scottsdale Anser head?

  5. Daniel

    Mar 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    The real question is whether the new putter or the lesson from Faxon resulted in the great putting performance.

  6. Sean Foster-Nolan

    Mar 21, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    A very nice putter, but ultimately it is the putting stroke more than it is the putter itself. He admitted he was putting less mechanically, and more with “feeling”. I think that had more to do with how well he putted than the new putter.

  7. joseph dreitler

    Mar 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks much for this article. Really enjoyed this story to see how exacting this Tour pro is about his equipment and what is involved and the various steps for the manufacturer and their Tour reps making him what he wants. And how incredibly customized for a specific pro it is by the manufacturer, in this case TaylorMade. The average amateur is not going to be able to buy such highly customized equipment like that from any mass producer, not that it would make a lot of difference. But given that you cannot buy that highly customized equipment – or have TaylorMade customize it just for you like Rory does, why in the world does it matter if I play the exact ball Rory is hitting with his clubs that I cannot buy? Tour Pros at that level are playing a totally different game and the fact that I can buy the ball they are playing is immaterial to me. The football used by Division 1 colleges is not as large as the NFL ball.

  8. Jim

    Mar 21, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Lovely putter (can you say “Ping”?), but speaking only for myself, I don’t like face inserts. Give me a plain old solid hunk of forged/milled metal – no inserts or fancy medallions.

    • +1

      Mar 21, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      I can putt better than you and most on this forum and using a cheap zinc die-cast putter from Walmart….. wanna bet?!!

      • Barack Obama

        Apr 2, 2018 at 8:47 am

        What a useless post… kinda like my presidency.

  9. Andre J Park

    Mar 21, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Newbie here, 508gms total weight of putter? Why are all store putters so light? 340gms is the norm. All the heavier putters,piretti,scotty,custom,are too expensive. Any putters that are heavier but, affordable out there?

    • Tim Armington

      Mar 21, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Rory is actually using a light putter compared to whats out there. Those were overall weights given on Rors putter. The 375 Piretti weights that u speak of are head weights only.

    • KM

      Apr 12, 2018 at 1:35 am

      350 for the head,120 for the shaft, 50 for the grip.

  10. Adam

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    This is literally just the Taylormade Classic 79 Tm-180 which you can snag on ebay for 50 bucks….
    The only difference is the weights like a scotty.

  11. ogo

    Mar 21, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Custom fit custom machined prototype tour only putters have that special mojo that off-the-shelf mass produced putters just don’t have. A Scotty store bought putter is nowhere close to a custom fit custom machined Scotty. Live with that gearheads … 😛

  12. Jordan

    Mar 21, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Wow D1. We’re all out here playing E0 and heavier putters. Also interesting that Rory went from near face balanced mallet to a full arc blade… although it still didn’t look like on some of his putts that he takes a really strong arc. Whatever works I guess.

    • DB

      Mar 21, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Yes, that’s a good point. Most retail putters these days are pushing into the E range. Many of the 35″ ones are E4 or more. Total weights are often 540+.

      Yet on tour you see Rory with D1. Total weight only 508. I’ve heard Tiger’s putter is something like D6/7. Same for Fowler.

      • Jordan

        Mar 21, 2018 at 9:32 am

        The new Ping Vault 2.0 Dale Anser in 35 inches is E7 lol with a 350g head. The grip is only like 50g of foam though. Based on Rory’s swing weight for 34.25 inches and that grip probably weighs around 70grams… i’m guessing that the headweight is around 340g.

  13. Foo

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Now this is a WRX article! None of that Eldrick this and that BS talk! This site should all be about this kind of tech and club stuff! Awesome!

  14. bb

    Mar 21, 2018 at 12:37 am

    what a head case…i’m sure he said the same thing about the semi-mallet he used when he won the tour championship…that worked out really well long term

  15. Lonzie McCants

    Mar 20, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Yep!!!! He won with this putter. But, if you can’t put, Rory’s putter will not help you win a tournament.

  16. robert

    Mar 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    There ya go, gearheads…. only a custom fit/built putter is any good.
    All yer off-the-shelf Scotty’s, Betty’s, Pingy’s are misfits for your unique putting stroke. Yer WITB is filled with craap putters …. :-p

  17. TMAC

    Mar 20, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    If he liked his Scotty so much that he basically wanted a copy of it made, why not just putt with the Scotty?
    TM making him use one of their putters? 14 club deal?

    • Scott

      Mar 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Yes, he’s being forced by TM and taking the $ to do it.

  18. john peterson

    Mar 20, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Rory won by three shots…do you guys actually watch golf or even read about it?

  19. Tom

    Mar 20, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    a good looking great performing putter that isn’t a scotty

  20. Kevin Arnold

    Mar 20, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    It’s the Dunlop Loco putter circa 2003…..C’mon Taylor Made, how many times can you rebrand a Walmart putter, and in the end, it’s still a Walmart putter.

  21. Christopher

    Mar 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    It’s a lovely looking putter, but the red insert has a bit of a budget look to it. Even though some top designers have used red inserts, it looks a bit cheap. Not that it matters one bit if the putts drop like they did for Rory.

    • Foo

      Mar 21, 2018 at 12:52 am

      It ain’t PXG! lmao

    • Someone

      Mar 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      I agree. I think because it’s surlyn it kind of cheapens the look. I putt with a seemore and it’s got an insert as well, and it gets worn from lots of play, so you can’t see the marks on it. Overtime, as much as he plays, I wonder if he’ll have to replace the insert at regular intervals…considering it’s a plastic and not a metal.

      • Bob Parson Jr.

        Mar 22, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        Yeah, like Scotty’s GSS double sided taped inserts? Right!

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Equipment

Photos of Sergio Garcia’s Ryder Cup-themed Odyssey Toulon Atlanta putter

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Sergio Garcia, who was given a controversial captain’s pick to play in the 2018 Ryder Cup next week in France, is playing in the Portugal Masters this week using a new, custom Odyssey Toulon Atlanta putter with European team colors. The putter has Euro-themed yellow, blue and white paint fills on the sole and back of the head, and stars that represent the European flag on the side.

Using the putter, Sergio’s off to a hot start at the Portugal Masters, played at Victoria Clube de Golfe, shooting a round of 5-under to put him at T6. He discusses the custom Toulon putter here:

Familiar with the style of putter, Sergio used a Odyssey Toulon Atlanta model to win on the European Tour last year, and has used several different Toulon models throughout 2018. The Atlanta model in particular is characterized by Odyssey as a mid-sized mallet that’s “fully milled with a multi-material aluminum sole plate and short-slant hosel.” It also has Toulon’s familiar diamond face milling.

To learn more about diamond face milling and Sean Toulon himself, check out our recent TG2 podcast with him below.

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10 of the best 2018 Ryder Cup souvenirs

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Yesterday, we took a look at 10 of the best historical Ryder Cup-themed apparel and memorabilia finds. Now it’s time to focus solely on this year’s event and see what goodies you can get your hands on before the action gets underway from Le Golf National. Here are ten 2018 Ryder Cup products available that we think you’ll like.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Rangefinder

Earlier this month we found out that Bushnell rangefinders are the preferred choice of GolfWRX members. Well, now you can get your hands on this Ryder Cup-themed Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Rangefinder. Although it doesn’t say so, the Rangefinder does look quite European in its colors. You can take a closer look at it here.

2018 Ryder Cup Set of Two 18.5 oz All-Purpose Wine Glasses

 

It’s only right to showcase these Ryder Cup-themed wine glasses, as, after all, we are in France. Keep the beer in the fridge and open up a nice bottle of Bordeaux and chill out and enjoy the three days of drama unfold from Le Golf National. Available here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup FootJoy SciFlex Golf Glove

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to grab a 2018 Ryder Cup souvenir that you should get a lot of use out of, this FootJoy Golf Glove features the official 2018 Ryder Cup logo and is available to purchase here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup USA Fanwear Pique Polo – Navy

We covered just what the U.S. team will be wearing over the three days of action at Le Golf National here. The feedback on the outfits was a little mixed, however, if like me you appreciated the minimalist style of the matchday shirts then this pique polo shirt will interest you. Another plus about this classy polo is that it’s almost half the price of the official match polos, check it out in more detail here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Nike Energy Pack T-Shirt

Just a big fan of the Ryder Cup and don’t want a product that appears too partisan? This Nike Ryder Cup T-Shirt is a cool way of showing your love for the event, and it comes in a color choice of carbon, white or blue. Check them out here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Team Europe Pom Pom Headcover Set of 3 (D R F) – Navy Stars

 

This Team Europe Pom Pom Headcover set is a winner. Enough said. Check them out here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup US Team Driver Cover

As with the European Headcovers, this Team USA leather Driver cover is beautiful, with impressive detail featuring the USA Ryder Cup logo and a ’12 Strong’ detail at the back of the head cover. Take a look at it here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Leatherette Tote Bag

A 2018 French Tricolour Ryder Cup bag featuring the official tournament crest and wording. A cool way to celebrate the first Ryder Cup ever to be held in France. Available here.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Team Europe Beanie – Royal/Yellow/White (Match Day)

These Team Europe Beanies look snug. Useful for showing your colors for next week’s event, and they’ll get plenty of use with winter closing in on us. Check them out here.

Ryder Cup Trophy Urn

A must for all golf fans. Well, maybe not. But Ryder Cup fanatics may still be interested in these Ryder Cup-themed urns described as “A perfect send off for a golf-loving friend or family member”. I’ll let you make up your own mind on these.

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Titleist releases new Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind

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The Vokey SM7 L Grind proved to be a welcome addition for those golfers who were looking to excel around the greens on firm conditions. The enhanced heel, toe and trailing edge grind provided the lowest bounce option available from Titleist upon its release.

Now, Titleist has announced the release of their new Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind. Just like the L Grind, the latest release from Titleist is a low-bounce option designed for players with a shallow attack angle playing in firm conditions, however, the new T Grind’s dual-bounce sole allows the wedge to sit closer to the ground, making it easier to get the leading edge under the ball and promoting lift. According to Titleist, the dual bounce sole creates a narrow, forward bounce which helps to provide a gliding sensation.

The new Vokey T Grind proved a popular choice at the Open Championship earlier this year, where the conditions were firm and fast. Charley Hoffman and Cameron Smith were just two of the PGA Tour professionals who decided to put the T Grind into their bag for the test at Carnoustie, and Vokey Tour Rep Aaron Dill explained just why it is such a great option to have on firm golf courses:

“When we arrived at Carnoustie and saw how firm and fast the course was playing, it was clear that the T Grind was going to be a great option. Bob crafted the T Grind to have low bounce that can be easily manipulated while keeping the leading edge close to the turf. It really excels when faced with those hard, unforgiving lies.”

The limited edition 60-degree T Grind features a brand new, ultra-premium Slate Blue finish, and those who desire can even get their T Grind customized. Customers will have the option to avail of Titleist’s personalized stamping of up to 10 characters and in one of 12 paintfill colors.

The Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind is available now through Wedgeworks at Vokey.com or by custom order, starting at $250.

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