As the PGA TOUR competes this week in the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club, the European Tour faces off in the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club.
This week, our Tour Report will take a look at the inside-the-ropes operation overseas. From HI-TOE wedges to Spider Mini putters and Rory McIlroy's full WITB, explore all the insight and info from TaylorMade Europe in the story below.
BMW PGA Championship week at Wentworth, Surrey is a busy week for the Sports Marketing team as this week’s tournament is regarded as THE PLAYERS Championship equivalent on the European Tour. The quality of the field means that our Tour team is extremely busy servicing most players.
Adrian Rietveld, Tour Manager for Europe, says, “The Tour truck is on-site and is prepared to service any request thrown at the team. In the UK, this event has the prestige and history to attract the best players and in the region of 80 thousand fans.”
A lot of time was spent the week before going over all the equipment. Our team looks through the entry list and goes through player-by-player to ensure each player's grips, shafts, gloves, balls, etc are onboard the truck should they need anything. 90% of this might not be used, but they can’t afford to be caught off guard.
It was the first week that our Sports Marketing team had the HI-TOE wedge available for players on the European Tour, and our Tour technician Sam Day has been kept very busy—building 18 HI-TOEs in total. He anticipates 80% to be in play this week. Haotong Li requested a new 60° HI-TOE after his practice round on Sunday. He had the heel ground down on his 60° and also his 58° due to the soft sand in the bunkers.
Haotong will also add an M3 driver into his bag this week. Adrian worked with Haotong in China fine-tuning his driver, and after showing great performance on the PGA TOUR over the last few weeks, he will play an M3 (460) 9.5° driver.
Rory McIlroy arrived at Wentworth for the first Rolex Series event of the season with three top-5 finishes on the European Tour and a win on the PGA TOUR. The four-time Major Championship winner is currently No. 8 in the world and was looking forward to this week’s event before he even arrived.
Rory has spent the past two weeks working on his swing with his coach. This week, he didn't want to undertake any specific club work as he is now in the build-up and preparation for the U.S. Open. However, he did have some questions particularly on his driver where he was asking about impact location. Using Trackman, the team was able to explain to Rory what he should expect to see on various impact locations from his Twist Face driver.
"It's shaping up to be a good week and I'm happy to be here. I did some good work in Florida last week on my swing and hopefully I can see some good signs with that over the course of the next few days as well. Glad to be here and looking forward to getting going.”
– Rory McIlroy
TaylorMade's European Tour Manager, Adrian Rietveld, gave some insight into how Rory will set up this week—and it’s clear that course conditions will dictate what will be in Rory’s bag. This week, Rory has dropped his 5wood and 3-iron in favor of a 4-wedge set up. Rory often changes his set up depending on the course changing between 5wood/ 1-iron/ 2-iron/ 3-iron and 52° /54° /56°.
Rory either plays 52°,56° & 60° OR 54° & 60° depending on what he does with the other end of his bag and what he feels gives him the opportunity to score best on each course. This week, Rory said that he will hit a lot of 2-iron shots and lots of wedges, which is why he has this setup.
Preference or Superstition…
This week, there was an unexpected trip for our Tour Representative Mark Thistleton when he was working with Rory on the range. Rory asked if there were any white tees that he could use (as the tees at Wentworth are a natural wood color).
A phone call to a local TaylorMade fitting rep and a 5-mile drive later, Mark delivered some white tees to Rory’s locker at Wentworth ready for today. He says "the first thing I'll be doing when I get back to the office is stocking the truck with white tees!"
On the PGA Tour, Spider Minis have been making an appearance, and it hasn't taken long for them to roll out onto the European Tour. We caught up with Tour Representative Mark Thistleton on the subject of players who had been taking a look at our new putter.
“We had extensive Spider stock for this week and the interest generated by these were very high. In the past, there has been much more of a focus on metalwoods, but as we are now such a complete brand offering top quality balls, wedges and putters, it is important we are covered on all aspects. We expect 4-5 new Spider and Spider Minis to go in play this week with a few more in the following weeks once guys have had more of a chance to work them in.”
US-based Director of Global Tours, Chris Trott, joined the team this week. Taking time away from the PGA TOUR, he was able to talk players through our putter range and help players get dialed in.
“For players out on Tour who are already playing with Spider Tour, presenting them with the option of Spider Mini is more of a service opportunity—we want to make sure they are comfortable with their putter and have exposure to everything new that we're offering. Spider Mini is a more traditional shaping alternative to what Spider Tour offers in terms of performance. This is the "halfway house" between a Spider Tour and, say, a Juno or Soto blade.
In the end, Spider Mini is still very much in the Spider family. It has the Pure Roll insert, it has the interchangeable weight on the sole, it has the Tour Red coloring... it presents a lot of features that a Spider user would already be comfortable with but in a scaled-down shape."
- Chris Trott
To stay up-to-date on everything going on overseas with TaylorMade Europe, follow THIS LINK for all the latest news and info. And as always, be sure to follow @TaylorMadeGolf and @TaylorMadeTour on social media.
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