Like any young bachelor, Rory McIlroy can be a commitment-phobe. So it's no wonder his Titleist clubfitter was caught off guard when the 23-year-old star made a sudden midseason gear change, replacing his driver of two years for Titleist's new 913 D3 -- after only one session on the range. "Rory's not a quick-changer in terms of equipment," says Chris Tuten, 42, Titleist's director of player promotions.
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It was love at first swing, as Tuten tells it. Since 2010, McIlroy had been using a Titleist 910 D2 driver, but he was having trouble with shots that didn't require a right-to-left trajectory. "Rory's 910 had more spin and was slightly draw-biased, so when he missed, he'd release the club too much, missing left," Tuten says.
In a July fitting on the practice range at his home in Northern Ireland, McIlroy toyed with the 913 driver head and four shafts of varying flex. His spin rate dropped 200 rpm to 2,400 rpm, he gained 15 yards of carry, and he could once again bend the ball at will, hitting drives left, right, high and low. Oh, and trouble lurking left no longer straightened his curls.
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"We were able to get it the way he likes it: a little upright, a little open," Tuten says. "Now he can hit all shot shapes, whereas with the 910 he struggled with shots other than the draw."
New driver. Newfound confidence. Just days after tossing the driver in his bag, McIlroy tied for 10th at the Irish Open. A week later, he finished fifth at the Bridgestone. A week after that, he won the PGA by eight.
- Titleist 913 D3 driver
- 8.5 degrees loft
- C2 setting (upright, slightly open)
- D5 swingweight
- Grip: GolfPride New Decade, 58, ribbed, yellow and black color
- Shaft: Mitsubishi prototype 70X, 45.5 inches, 70 grams
- Tipping on shaft: 1.75 inch
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Golf Magazine, on newstands now. Click here to subscribe to Golf Magazine and to learn about Golf Magazine All Access.