Rory McIlroy‘s days as a free agent have come to an end. After his corporate partner Nike Golf exited the golf hardware business last August the former World No. 1 golfer decided on what new equipment he’ll be using. McIlroy will stock his golf bag with Callaway golf clubs and fill the holes with Titleist golf balls in 2017.
Many observers have blamed Rory’s current major drought (no wins and precious few threats since his Open Championship and PGA Championship back-to-back in 2014) in part on his equipment. He has clearly not always been satisfied with what he has been swinging and several times offending clubs having been destroyed or deposited in a water hazard. The 27-year old also cycled through a series of Nike golf balls over the past few years.
A late season revival during the Fed Ex Cup in 2016 has returned McIlroy to World No.2 and his fans no doubt expect the apparent life and work stability to put him back on the track that led to three major wins before the age of 25. It appears that McIlroy has no intentions to sign equipment deals with either Callaway or Titleist. There’s still a lack of commitment but here’s to hoping all his great searches are over in 2017 for the game’s most talented player.
Welcome One, Say “So Long” to Another
Acushnet, Titleist’s parent company, probably won’t get much mileage by adding Rory McIlroy’s name to the long list of players using its Titleist golf balls. Although that is not the case for the South Korean manufacturer Volvik, who signed Bubba Watson to a multi-year contract.
In 2016, Volvik was named the official ball of the Long Driving Contest and the bashing of colored balls caught the attention of Bubba Watson. He tried some and signed on. Reeling in the enigmatic lefty bomber will immediately raise the Volvik golf profile. The company’s biggest endorsers to date had been Se Ri Pak, now retired, and Craig Stadler, 34 years removed from his Masters win and infrequent appearances on the Champions Tour.
What little traction Volvik has gained so far has been on the LPGA Tour, but only a few women players have adopted the colorful golf balls which include many different neon colors and a new matte finish with Volvik Vivid golf balls. Maurice Allen, who holds the record for the fastest driver swing at 204 miles per hour, is in the Volvik stable but the World #10 Watson will certainly be the company’s prize spokesman.
The two-time Masters champion is known for his affection for color, which makes the marriage with Volvik a natural fit, along with the predilection for distance. Several years ago Watson requested a hot pink shaft for his PING driver and then a pink clubhead, which became charity fundraisers while he played. The company went so far as to release a PING Bubba Limited Edition G Driver to capitalize on his popularity. It was actually at a Masters Champions dinner that Stadler clued him into the brightly colored Volvik golf balls.
Watson is now all in with color. The Volvik S4 golf ball model is the pro-style model that best suits Bubba’s game and it is reported that this will be the ball he will be playing on Tour. It’s currently only available in white with a bluish cast, otherwise known as “Blue Pearl”, but the company has already produced a signature pink ball for Watson to play in the year’s kick-off event at Kapalua, Hawaii. No doubt the powers that be at the Masters are already monitoring what Watson and Volvik have in mind for Augusta.