Twelve months is a long time in many walks of life and golf is certainly no exception.
In the full year since Rory McIlroy signed an eye-watering $100M ten-year deal with TaylorMade we've seen quite a lot of change in the game. We've enjoyed three further maiden major winners, a whole raft of proposed golf rules changes announced by the USGA and R&A, and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods making a rather impressive return to the game.
Catch Rory’s ceremonial club/bag switch below:
We got to thinking how 'Rors' had performed since the high-profile golf equipment switch. So here's a review of the Northern Irishman's last calendar year with TaylorMade golf clubs, bag and balls in play...
Major Mixed Bag
Last month's Masters tournament promised much for Rory but, ultimately, he came up short in the latest instalment of his annual attempt at closing out the career grand slam.
Finally settling for a T-5 position at Augusta National, this near miss came on the back of a T-22 at Quail Hollow (2017 PGA Championship), a T-4 at Royal Birkdale (2017 Open Championship) and a missed cut at Erin Hills (2017 U.S. Open).
He might not have won the 2018 Masters, but Rory sure did hit some stunning shots:
World Ranking Drop
When first signing with TaylorMade the Northern Irishman was sitting in second place in the Official World Golf Rankings, however at the same time in 2018 he had fallen to eighth place.
Furthermore, Rory hit a low of 13th after a missed cut at the Valspar Championship this year, however much of this slide can be attributed to a troublesome rib injury which continued to plague the four-time major winner into late 2017 and led to him shutting down his season early.
2018 Early Promise
Last week's second place at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was one of five separate top-five finishes in 2018.
He would come up two shots shy of Francesco Molinari despite a stunning second round 65:
An impressive win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March saw Rory finish on top of a tournament leaderboard for the first time since the Tour Championship at East Lake - the season-ending PGA Tour event - back in 2016.
Reason for optimism
There's plenty for Rory to aim at during the remainder of 2018. Three major championships are yet to be tussled over with the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills little over two weeks away, while The Open takes place at Carnoustie Golf Club in July and the PGA Championship closes out major season at Bellerive Country Club later in August.
With his game trending in the right direction, he will fancy his chances of adding to his haul of four major titles - and of regaining the Ryder Cup this September in Paris.
If he is to make his mark Rory will rely on his 'Twist Face' enhanced M3 driver to put him in the prime position to attack as many flags as possible.
It's within his capabilities given that he was first in driver distance on the PGA Tour in 2017 and this year so far sits fourth.
Catch Rory's recent 'What's In The Bag' to get a better understanding of his bag set-up:
It does seem that Rory is getting used to life with Taylormade weaponry in the bag. Results are starting to improve and we would expect that he will recover his position as European number one again before too long - though that's as much down to having shaken off injury worries as it is the new equipment.
In any case, only time will tell if this is a partnership 'TaylorMade' for long-term success...
What do you think Rory's chances are of further major success this year? Was the switch to TaylorMade more than just financially beneficial? Let us know below:
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