The battle to fill Rory McIlroy's bag is underway, and TaylorMade seems to have made a good first impression.
After playing a TaylorMade M2 driver, 5-wood and 3-wood on his way to a T-4 finish at last week's WGC-HSBC Champions in China, the four-time major winner told Chris Solomon of No Laying Up that he was pleased with the results. Well, for the most part.
"The driver and the 5-wood went really well," McIlroy said. "I think the 3-wood probably cost me a couple shots last week, but the driver and 5-wood were great. I'm gonna do a little work on the 3-wood in the next few days."
The biggest difference, according to McIlroy, was carry distance. McIlroy played alongside Bubba Watson and Adam Scott, two of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, in the opening rounds, and he said that the new clubs provided some extra pop.
"A few weeks ago I'd say I'd be pretty much level with [Watson and Scott] in terms of carry distance," McIlroy said. "I was flying it a good bit by them in China."
Nike's sudden exit from the golf equipment business this summer put McIlroy on the market for new sticks for the first time since 2013, and his public test of TaylorMade gear in China seems to mark the Carlsbad-based company as the likely source of the former top-ranked player's next big endorsement deal.
McIlroy plans to continue testing clubs throughout December but offered no specific timeline for when he plans to make a decision on what will ultimately end up in his bag.
"The golf ball for me will be the big thing, because it's the only piece of equipment you use for every single shot," McIlroy said. "If I can find a golf ball that I’m comfortable with, that's a good place to start 2017."