3 observations from Rory McIlroy’s recent TaylorMade gear changes

rory mcilroy taylormade irons

Rory McIlroy's new irons bumped a club that's received a lot of fanfare from the bag.

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Rory McIlroy spoke about minor swing changes he made at home during Wednesday’s pre-tournament press conference. What he failed to mention were the changes that went beyond the swing — in the equipment department.

As McIlroy looks to fend off four players (Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Webb Simpson and Justin Thomas) who have a legitimate shot to unseat him from the No. 1 world ranking at the Memorial, he’ll do so with some new TaylorMade clubs in the bag. More specifically, a set of TaylorMade P7MB prototype irons and a “new” SIM Max 3-wood.

Here’s what we can discern from recent photos of McIlroy’s current setup.

Traditional setup

McIlroy can flush it with the irons. That’s not even close to a hot take. But ever since he joined TaylorMade in 2017, his iron setup has consisted of long irons (P750 or P760) that pack forgiveness and consistency with blades (P730) offering the workability and control he needs to go flag-hunting.

The blended set he employed was fairly common by today’s Tour standards. McIlroy even went so far as to add a SIM Max hybrid earlier in the year to reap the launch benefits the club had to offer.

And then he flipped the script at the Memorial.

Based on the below image of McIlroy’s bag, he’s now using a full set of P7MB blades (3-PW). It’s pure conjecture at this point, but that leads me to believe Rory’s seeing a level of consistency and forgiveness that would allow him to feel comfortable shelving better-player cavity-back irons. (And maybe even the hybrid.)

You have to go all the way back to 2016 — when McIlroy was on staff with Nike — to find the last time he used one version of an iron (Nike VR Pro Blade) through the bag. This is definitely a change worth monitoring.

Double for trouble

Yes, McIlroy has 15 clubs in the bag. It’s from a practice round. If you’re curious why he’s carrying two TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 lob wedges, he wanted to have something with sharp grooves in the event Muirfield Village firmed up over the weekend. The plan was to leave the wedge on the sidelines and use something with worn grooves on Thursday, but the way course is playing, a change could be imminent.

Keep it in play

Even the savviest gearhead would have trouble picking up on McIlroy’s last change — a reduction in shaft length on his TaylorMade SIM Max 3-wood. In an attempt to gain more control, McIlroy went from 43.25 inches to 42.5 inches. The four-time major winner has never been starved for distance. A bit more control on a firm and fast Muirfield Village could be a good thing.

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.