Equipment troubles

When Rory McIlroy discovered his putter was too long, his caddie hustled to a golf store

August 12, 2023

Tracy Wilcox

Rory McIlroy brought two putters to the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the opening playoff event in Memphis. His TaylorMade Spider X flatstick made the trip to TPC Southwind, but it’s been sitting the bench in favor of a Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5

“I've got my Spider with me this week if that putter isn't doing what I want it to do over the first couple days. I may go back,” McIlroy said before play began at TPC Southwind.

“I sort of treat it like a 12-round tournament,” he added of the three playoff events. “You've got 12 rounds to play.”

The Phantom has stayed in the bag, and McIlroy has been so-so with it, ranking 40th in the field in strokes gained/putting for the week while sitting tied for sixth on the leaderboard with one round to go, five shots back of leader Lucas Glover.

The Spider, however, does get credit for something of an assist.

After shooting 68 on Saturday, McIlroy said his grip on the Phantom felt odd in the first two rounds, and when he lined it up next to the Spider, he discovered the Scotty Cameron club was a half-inch longer. “It wasn’t like a huge difference,“ McIlroy explained.

But it was concerning enough that, with the equipment trucks long down the road for the week, he sent caddie Harry Diamond out on Friday night to get the club cut down at a local Edwin Watts golf store.

But, McIlroy added, they talked to a Cameron rep who said that by chopping it down the swing weight probably changed. So then they had to add weight to the bottom of the club on Saturday morning. "Just a couple of heavier ones,” McIlroy said.

It all seems a bit disconcerting in the middle of an event that has a $20 million purse.

Did Saturday's change make a difference? Not really. McIroy ranked 50th in the 70-man field in SG/putting in Round 1, 37th in Round 2 and 41st in Round 3.

Time for the Spider to see some action? Stay tuned.