By E. Michael Johnson
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It doesn't take long to determine the turning point of the PGA Championship at Valhalla. One only need to look at the 10th hole, when Rory McIlroy's second shot, a 280-yard 3-wood to seven feet, led to an eagle that provided the impetus for the Ulsterman's second consecutive major title.
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The club McIlroy used to strike that blow was Nike VRS Covert 2.0 3-wood, a 15-degree club that he put in the bag at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but didn't hit a shot with at Firestone CC. Still, the club stayed in play at Valhalla.
Interestingly, McIlroy is not quick to change his fairway woods, telling me in June that, "Fairway woods are very individual clubs. You find a fairway wood you like and you sort of stick with it for a while."
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Still, McIlroy said he preferred the stronger ball flight the Covert 2.0 gave him, which fits with his ideals for a fairway wood. "My 3-wood acts as two separate things," he said. "It's another driver but needs the playability to get it off the deck and up in the air enough so it lands relatively softly coming into greens on a par 5. I've always played a low-degree 3-wood, around 13 degrees or 13 1/2. But with the Covert and the ball coming off the clubface a little hotter I've been able to go up a degree in the 3-wood, so I can get the ball up in the air but still get a good distance."
The shot he hit at the 10th didn't get up in the air much (by design), but it had just the right amount of distance -- enough to send him on his way to his fourth major championship.
Here are the clubs Rory used to win the PGA Championship:
Driver: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70x), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Nike VRS Covert 2.0, 15 degrees
5-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Nike VR Pro Blade; (PW): Nike VR Forged
Wedges: Nike VR Forged (52, 56, 59 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 006
Ball: Nike RZN Black