Days after being spotted with a new Nike driver on the range at Gleneagles, Rory McIlroy has all but confirmed that he’ll have the new Nike Vapor driver in Ryder Cup play this week.
“This is a driver that I’ve actually been using and practicing with since June,” said McIlroy on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t be putting it in the bag if I didn’t feel it was better. But I think everyone saw yesterday, it was the only driver I had out there in the bag. It’s looking likely that it’s going to be in the bag this week.”
Asked if he was aware of Phil Mickelson’s disastrous last-minute equipment change right before the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, McIlroy responded that, in fact, he was there.
“Phil Mickelson nearly hit me off the tees in 2004,” said McIlroy. “I was standing down the left-hand side, so I’m very aware of what he did that week. Hey, look, Phil changed from one equipment manufacturer to another.”
European captain Paul McGinley was asked how he felt about the 25-year-old McIlroy, who drove the ball superbly all season with his Nike Covert VRS 2.0 Tour en route to a pair of major titles, swapping drivers this close to the biennial competition.
“Doesn’t concern me at all,” said McGinley. “He spoke to me and said first thing when he got here, ‘I’ve been testing something new, this is where I’m at with it, do you have a problem?’ I said, ‘Rory, I don’t have any problem. You make your own decisions. You have your own team around you. You are the best player in the world, make your own decisions and I’m not going to influence that.’ I’d never dream of giving a player a lesson or telling them what to do. They make their own decisions, that’s why they’re top players and that’s why they are here.”