So much for starting the season hot with a brand new sponsor and new clubs in the bag. Rory McIlroy crashed and burned at the Abu Dhabi Championship with his brand spankin’ new Nike golf clubs, failing to make the cut. Carding a 75 in each of his first two rounds, the number-one golfer was on the wrong the side of the cut line at the conclusion of the second round.
Despite the glowingly positive comments about the new Nike clubs, McIlroy actually switched back to his old Scotty Cameron putter for the second round. Nike couldn’t have been too happy about that move. To me, that doesn’t sound like someone who is quite comfortable enough with their new equipment yet. In addition to putting poorly, McIlroy shanked several chip shots, and drove the ball all over the course. Guess he could’ve used a few more practice in Nike’s test facility, “The Oven”.
Looking back on the round, McIlroy said, “It’s very disappointing. You really want to get off to a nice start at the start of the season, but I’ve got to realize that it is only the start of the season and there’s a lot of golf left. I said to the guys yesterday on the way back, as long as I feel like my game is in good shape heading into Augusta, that’s all I’m worried about.” I don’t think anybody expected McIlroy to come out and blame his new clubs, but they are almost assuredly part of the problem he had this week.
Thankfully for McIlroy, he will have some additional time to work out the kinks with his new gear since he won’t have to worry about playing competitively this weekend. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a minor hiccup in what will likely be another stellar season for McIlroy. It may take some time, but he will right the ship and be back in contention on a regular basis.