RORY STARTS AFRESH

McIl­roy pre­par­ing for The Play­ers af­ter mar­riage

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AF­TER a five-week lay­off that saw him wed Amer­i­can Erica Stoll in an Ir­ish cas­tle, soak up the sun on a Caribbean hon­ey­moon and strike a new multi-mil­lion dol­lar equip­ment deal, Rory McIl­roy is keen to start a new chap­ter in his life at The Play­ers in Florida this week.

“The last few weeks have been re­ally cool. Ob­vi­ously got mar­ried and went on hon­ey­moon and en­joyed that,” McIl­roy told re­porters at TPC Saw­grass on Tues­day.

“Got back home to Florida last Thursday, been try­ing to lose a bit of weight be­fore this week ... but, yeah, every­thing’s been great.”

The 28-year-old signed a re­ported US$100 mil­lion (RM450 mil­lion) deal to switch to Tay­lorMade for the next 10 years. He pre­vi­ously had an equip­ment con­tract with Nike be­fore it an­nounced late last year that it was pulling out of that mar­ket.

The World No 2, who signed a long-term ex­ten­sion to his Nike ap­parel con­tract in April, said he de­cided to switch to Tay­lorMade’s clubs and balls start­ing this week af­ter feel­ing a lack of con­trol with his shots in windy con­di­tions.

“So I sort of went back to the draw­ing board and tested for about 10 days pretty ex­ten­sively af­ter Au­gusta, worked with a lot of dif­fer­ent things,” he said.

“Saw stuff with the golf ball, that new TP5x ball that they have, and I thought, wow, this is what I need, this is ex­actly the thing that I’ve been strug­gling with.

“Then over the course of the next few days, I tested dif­fer­ent combinations (of clubs), a lot of dif­fer­ent stuff, and I came to the con­clu­sion that, that was the best way for­ward for me to try and im­prove, try and win more, try to get back to World No 1, try to win more ma­jors.”

McIl­roy said he felt like he was start­ing “a new chap­ter in my life ... but I re­ally feel with the new equip­ment, as well, it’s hope­fully go­ing to take me to that next level.”

The four-time ma­jor win­ner did not think his in­ten­sity and fo­cus on the golf course would change now that he is a mar­ried man, but thought mar­riage could be ben­e­fi­cial off the course.

“It might help me get over tough losses a lit­tle bit eas­ier,” said McIl­roy.

“I’m in a great place in my life and I feel very set­tled and very lucky to be in this po­si­tion. Now it’s just about try­ing to make the most of, I guess, the for­tune that I’ve had.” Reuters

Rory McIl­roy

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