Rory McIlroy: The gear tweaks behind his fast Open start

Rory Mc Ilroy Open Bag 2022

With a superb opening round of 66, Rory McIlroy has made a strong start in his bid to win The 150th Open and end a major drought stretching back almost eight years.

Thanks to seven birdies, offset by only one bogey, the Northern Irishman currently lies second, two shots behind leader Cameron Young, and there is no doubt he is a man in-form going in to this tournament.

Key to his impressive showing so far at St Andrews are a couple of new additions to his bag this week.

Top of that list is McIlroy’s new TaylorMade UDI Stealth driving iron, which he used today to drive the 18th green. The club is set at 16 degrees, just a degree higher than the standard 3-wood, with a lie angle of 59.75a p. It also has a Project X Hazardous 65 105 shaft that’s 40 inches long and has a D4 swing weight.

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At the opposite end of the bag, meantime, he has thrown in a Milled Grind 3 LB 60-degree wedge, with a PX 6.5 shaft. It’s 35.5 inches, has a lie angle of 63 degrees and a D5 in swing weight.

There is no doubt that these new additions this week have definitely made an impact off the tee, approaching greens and giving him the control and consistency he needs if he is to have any chance of winning a second Claret Jug.

Earlier this week, McIlroy explained why he was tweaking his set-up.

“I've played this course mostly in like September, October time for the Alfred Dunhill Links, where it plays completely differently," he said. "Then it's sort of hit driver everywhere, get it as close to the greens as you can, and take your chances. I think this week you're going to maybe see guys laying back a little bit.

"The hole locations that they'll use this week are very different than what they use at Dunhill, for example. So, laying back, giving yourself full shots into some of these greens, playing the angles a little bit more, I think that's going to be really important this week.

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“It's definitely a lot more of a strategic golf course when it plays like this. Even like the drive I hit on the second hole on Monday, and that pin's in the middle of the green. I felt like I couldn't hit a chip shot that close, so I putted it from whatever it was, 60 yards.

“You'll see a lot of that this week. If you hit a lot of drivers, you may get close to some of these greens, and it would be advantageous to lay back and give yourself fuller, fuller wedge shots into some of these greens.”

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