The world No. 1 said Tuesday at Dove Mountain that he has changed the tip in his Nike Covert VR_S Covert driver shaft to create more spin and keep the ball in the air longer, and he also added 6 grams of weight and a different shaft to his Nike Method putter to make it heavier.
“If the ball is going in the direction that I want in the flight that I want, then I’m happy,” McIlroy said. “It feels good, and hopefully I can show that to everyone this week.”
In Abu Dhabi, the Northern Irishman shot rounds of 75-75 to miss the cut by four shots. But he also created a stir by switching back to his Scotty Cameron putter for the second round – just days after an elaborate introduction with Nike. At the time, McIlroy said he made the switch because the greens were slower and felt he was unable to get the ball to the hole.
At his Nike news conference, McIlroy declined to discuss the specifics of his new contract, which is rumored to be a five-year deal.
McIlroy will face Shane Lowry of Ireland at 12:05 p.m. local time in the first round of the Match Play. This is the first of three consecutive starts for the Northern Irishman, who after this week will head to Florida for The Honda Classic, where he is the defending champion, and WGC-Cadillac Championship.