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Golf Australia Express : February 2013
After winning the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach and helping Europe secure the Ryder Cup the same year with a set of Callaways, Graeme McDowell controversially switched to Srixon for the 2011 season and notably struggled to find anything near his A-game. But few have done a head-to-toe, ball-to-bag transformation in one fell swoop, like McIlroy has. Titleist? Gone. Oakley? Gone. Hello, Nike. MCILROY TALKED UP his new equipment pre-tournament, lauding a new Nike driver that may now be the most expensive back scratcher in the history of personal massaging. But, when money ceases to be an issue—as it did for Rory some years ago—no endorsement cheque in the world is enough to compensate a sportsman for the one thing he truly craves: wins, and lots of them. Of course, sport is littered with stories of sportsmen who switched gear and either roared to the top of their sport, or were never quite the same. MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi was almost unbeatable on a Yamaha between 2004 and 2010, winning the world title four times and finishing on the podium the other three years. Then he jumped onto a Ducati, on which he has not only failed to win another championship... he’s yet to win a single race. But then there’s tennis player Novak Djokovic, who famously took a punt (and a cheque) in switching from Wilson racquets to Head gear after winning his first grand slam title in 2009. In a sport where touch and feel is everything, you might have noticed the result hasn’t been too shabby. A FEW THINGS do weigh in McIlroy’s favour. Last year he missed four cuts in five tournaments, including his title defence at the US Open. So it’s not like the occasional dirty round is reserved purely for the rounds when he picks up sticks with a SwooshTM on them. And, unlike most of the PGA’s best, he’s got the next few weeks off and won’t be sighted in competitive play again until the WGC Accenture Matchplay Championship in Arizona on February 20. We can only hope he finds some answers on the practice range in that time. If he needs answers on how to make those Nike clubs sing, he could always ask Tiger. Apparently he knows what to do with them. OTG COVER the COVER the