Rory McIlroy On Equipment Changes, Stag Dos And The Rest Of 2023

This week Rory McIlroy, along with Jon Rahm, guaranteed his seventh straight Ryder Cup appearance as Europe prepare to take on the Americans in Rome. In the nearer future he will attempt to win a fourth FedEx Cup and, at his press conference this week in Memphis, there was plenty of typical insight as to what's in his bag and his plans for the rest of this year and beyond.

1) This week McIlroy has switched from his usual TaylorMade Spider Hydro Blast mallet putter, which he has used for a number of years, to a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5, which is a winged mallet. But he revealed that the move wasn't overly scientific and more based an aesthetics.

What Rory says: "Honestly, I just wanted a different look, just wanted to freshen it up. I've got my Spider with me this week if that putter isn't doing what I want it to do over the first couple days. I may go back. I just wanted to freshen it up. It was zero testing process. It was go into the garage and see what I had and just pull a couple out and go have a few putts. That was it."

2) This week Tiger Woods joined PGA Tour policy board for the first time in his career, making him the sixth player director on the 12-seat board which meets regularly to decide how the PGA Tour runs. So not much will now happen without Woods' say so.

What Rory says: "It's a great addition. The player over the last 20 years that's left the biggest legacy on the game, for him to be involved in the discussions around the future of professional golf and what that may look like I think is very important. Tiger has stepped up for all of us and I think he realises that the players that are on the policy board were trying to play regular golf, and at the same time try to navigate all these different things, as well. He's maybe got a little more time on his hands than we do and for him to step up and take a little bit of the load off us is very much appreciated."

3) We also had the announcement of the 2024 PGA Tour schedule. Of the 36 events there will be eight designated tournaments which have been given yet another name change to 'signature events'. These will have limited fields and $20 million purses. There was also the news that one of those signature events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, will have a field of only 80 players and will only be played at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill with the celebrities/amateurs only featuring on Thursday and Friday.

What Rory says: "There's a lot that I like with this schedule next year. I love Quail Hollow going straight into PGA. I love Memorial going straight into US Open. The run-up to Augusta, I don't know what I'm going to play there, if at all. Maybe play San Antonio the week before. But my schedule will look pretty much the same as it did this year. I'm not a huge Hawaii guy so I'll probably not go to Hawaii, but I'll play Pebble Beach and sort of play a similar schedule from there on that I've played."

4) After the run of FedEx Cup events McIlroy's big focus will be on Rome and helping Europe to retaining the Ryder Cup. Then, from October onwards, he will shut things down other than the season-ender in Dubai on the DP World Tour. And there will even be a stag do to squeeze in there..

What Rory says: "I've got the next three weeks, then I have a week off, then I'll play the Irish Open. I'll play Wentworth. I've got a buddy's bachelor party in Mykonos after Wentworth for a few days, and then I have a few days to dry out before the Ryder Cup. I've got a six-out-of-eight run culminating with the Ryder Cup where I'm hoping to play a lot of golf. Those two off weeks are going to be important to just conserve energy and to really manage my time well and make sure I'm doing the right things so that I'm ready to go when I need to. So six weeks off after the Ryder Cup, Dubai, and I probably won't play again until Dubai at the end of January."

5) McIlroy has won the FedExCup three times as well as also finishing second third. Come the Tour Championship it's a different mentality with shots being allocated before the start of the tournament and McIlroy explained how he will be treating the next few weeks from a mental point of view.

What Rory says: "I've always said this: starting at 10-under par at the TOUR Championship, if you are that No. 1 seed, it's tough to get into the right mindset on Thursday morning. We all usually start level, and you're starting with a two-shot lead. It's just a bit of a different mindset that you need. I treat it all it like a 12-round tournament. You've got 12 rounds to play, and you're trying to go out there and get the best out of yourself for those 12 days. At the end of the day, going into the Tour Championship, if you're sort of within four of the lead starting on Thursday, I think you're in a really good spot."