Golf

McIlroy hopes equipment switch is TaylorMade for more success

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," said McIlroy, who will tee off with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and American Justin Thomas in the first round at TPC Sawgrass tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"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 (S$141m)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 last month, 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.

"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."

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