How nice must it be to be a Tour Pro and get your clubs for free? Jump on the tour truck and ask for a new set of wedges or for the guy to tweak your driver a little bit, just so you can bomb it that bit further.
Oh… and you don’t even have to carry them either!
But a massive majority of tour pros will be contracted to play only a certain brand of club. No doubt they get paid well for doing so but does this limit them competitively and restrict their choice?
For example after years with Nike, who Rory admittedly struggled with when he first signed, he has just signed a $100m deal with TaylorMade to play their equipment for the next 10 years.
Now this is Rory McIlroy. The geezer could probably rock up with a knife, fork and spoon and smash 300 yard drives and win tour events but is it a risk signing these massive deals?
Statistics showing Rory in the 2016 PGA Tour season using his Nike sticks compared to the start of 2017 until April 20th where he had a ‘free bag’ are pretty remarkable.
His DRIVING DISTANCE, DRIVING DISTANCE (ALL DRIVES) and DRIVING EFFICIENCY went from 9th, 4th and 38th on Tour to 1st in every category using a Callaway Epic Driver.
His SCORING AVERAGE and APPROACHES FROM 150-175, 175-200, 200-225 and SCRAMBLING > 30 YARDS went from 6th, 12th, 90th, 3rd and 11th on Tour to number one in EVERY category again. This time using Callaway Apex Irons, some M2 fairways woods, Vokey wedges and an Odyssey putter.
And with that same Odyssey putter he went from 104th and 105th in PUTTS PER ROUND and PUTTING FROM 3 FEET to 32nd and yes, number one again!
Now the argument could just be Rory is killing it this year or the ‘free bag’ was perfectly suited to him… or even that he was more suited to the Titleist or Callaway gear?
Or it could be that in the very popular TaylorMade he has found a full set that is even more perfect for him and who he has faith with in the long term?
But when you look at the stats it does make us normal folk wonder why the superstar players, who don’t need the money and say they are playing to win majors, tie themselves down to these long term deals?
Knowing that your main competitor could get hold of a driver that goes way further or a putter that you’d love to get your hands on.
What these stats show is that Rory is either hugely confident with his new gear, he thinks he can beat people with any equipment or in fact for him… it’s all about the money.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.