Rory McIlroy added a new TaylorMade club for Riviera: Wall-to-Wall

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McIlroy added a graphite-shafted P790 3-iron for Riviera.

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Welcome to Wall-to-Wall Equipment, the Monday morning gear roundup in which GOLF’s gear editor Jonathan Wall guides you through the latest trends, rumors and breaking news.

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The narrow, tree-lined fairways of the Riviera Country Club don’t scream bomb and rip-off. With Kikuyu grass adding another layer of defense, it’s no wonder some players on the course have chosen to shake up their gear setup and add a “fairway finder” to the bag – Rory McIlroy included.

Depending on the course setup, McIlroy has two different 3 irons. A steel-shafted TaylorMade P770 (Project X Rifle 7.0) is the most common option and deftly bridges the distance gap between its TaylorMade Stealth Plus 5 wood and the Rors Proto 4 iron. With hollow-body forged construction, the P770 offers a slight increase in forgiveness and ball speed when McIlroy wants to attack the par 5.

On weeks when he needs another option off the tee, McIlroy uses a graphite-shafted TaylorMade P790 – a club he reinserted at Riviera for the Genesis Invitational. McIlroy has used the P790 UDI 2 iron in the past, but chose a standard P790 3 iron (19 degrees) which required him to do some rod testing to find the optimal construction.

What McIlroy learned during early testing was that his standard Project X Rifle 7.0 steel shaft was “too soft for his liking.” With no viable steel option, McIlroy opted to test different graphite options at home.

“With this club, every steel shaft I tried had a little bit left over,” McIlroy told GOLF.com. “They made four 3 irons for me to try with graphite. I tried a Graphite Design Tour AD, Fujikura 115, Project X HZRDUS and Fujikura Ventus Black.

Testing revealed that Ventus Black HB 10X was the best option for McIlroy, which eliminated the dreaded left-hand misfire with the low-torque shaft.

“The Ventus was the only one that didn’t make the ball go left for me,” McIlroy said. “The black version of Ventus is really boardy and a continuation of what I already play in my [TaylorMade] Woods.”

The P790 3-iron probably won’t be an every-week option for McIlroy, but with the right shaft in place, he can rest easy knowing he has two worthwhile choices.

“Choosing one 3-iron over another just depends on the course,” he said. “At least I have options, that’s what you want when you see different configurations.”

Consistency Image

Morikawa and TaylorMade have agreed to a contract extension.

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Collin Morikawa won’t be switching equipment teams anytime soon. The world No. 2 has put pen to paper on a new multi-year extension that will see him remain a staff member of TaylorMade for the foreseeable future.

“I am delighted to be associated with [TaylorMade] for another handful for years,” Morikawa said. “They were great with me. I really had them by my side forever and it’s always nice to have someone you can trust. This is the most important thing here, how many people can you trust? I keep my circle pretty tight. As you progress in professional golf, you add people to your group. As long as you trust them it makes life much easier and when you are there you only care about playing golf.

Morikawa, who finished second at Riviera, has been on TaylorMade’s Tour staff since turning pro in 2019.

A first time for everything

Rickie Fowler tried out the TaylorMade Spider GT Black putter.

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Rickie Fowler’s search for a reliable putter led him to try out a TaylorMade putter for the first time in his career at the Genesis Open. The 33-year-old hit a 35-inch Spider GT Black with a single line of sight on the crown. Released earlier this year, the latest version of TaylorMade’s acclaimed Spider putter features a lightweight 145-gram 6061 aluminum top plate AND two 90-gram steel side weights that push 82% of the putter’s weight to the perimeter for more stability through the stroke and on off-center putts.

Fowler placed 62nd in SG: Putting with the new wand.

Increase the difficulty

Thomas switched to a Vokey K-Grind at Riviera.

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Dislodging the balloon from Riviera’s sticky Kikuyu grass requires a set of special tools. Justin Thomas was one of the notable names to modify his wedge setup to handle the unique conditions, replacing his Titleist Vokey WedgeWorks 60.5-degree lob wedge with a wide-soled K-Grind to prevent the head from digging into the turf on impact. (Xander Schauffele also added an SM9 WedgeWorks K-Grind wedge lob.)

While Thomas chose to increase the width of the sole and add bounce, others went in the opposite direction, reducing overall bounce to allow the club to extract the ball quickly from rough.

Fast hitters: Dustin Johnson replaced his TaylorMade Rescue with a DJ Proto 3 iron. …Sergio Garcia switched to a 10.5-degree TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver. … Maverick McNealy had a Callaway Jaws 60-08W lob corner built with trailing relief for Riviera conditions. … Matt Kuchar added an 18-degree TaylorMade Stealth fairway wood. … Joaquin Niemann’s victory with a Titleist Pro V1x made it 5 straight Golf Ball Tour wins — and 9 of the last 10 — for the equipment supplier.

Zephyr Melton contributed to this week’s gear notes.

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Photographer

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com Editor for Equipment. Before joining the team at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering PGA Tour equipment.

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