Rory McIlroy has already won the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai, so he is using this week’s DP World Tour Championship to test a new driver.
The new big stick, the Taylormade Qi-10, surfaced on the USGA’s conforming list of clubs this past week, meaning McIlroy can test it out in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s just a new driver that I have been playing around with,” McIlroy said in a video released by the DP World Tour.
“So seeing that this week is, you know, I still gotta go out there and try to win the golf tournament, but it could be a good time to test it in competition. You will probably see a new driver in the bag this week.”
This year marks McIlroy’s fifth time winning the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour’s equivalent to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup.
“I played well when I came back over to the European Tour this year,” McIlroy said Tuesday.
“I won two Rolex Series Events and had some other really high finishes in tournaments that give a lot of points, and yeah, look, it’s really nice to have my name on the Harry Vardon Trophy for the fifth time and just be one behind Seve [Ballesteros] and still a few behind [Colin Montgomerie].”
The Harry Vardon Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Race to Dubai since 2009. Prior to that, the DP World Tour—then known as the European Tour—utilized the ‘Order of Merit,’ which was essentially the player of the year. Whoever won the Order of Merit earned the most Euros—or British Pounds before 1998—throughout the season.
Montgomerie won the Order of Merit a record eight times, while Ballesteros took the trophy home six times, most recently in 1991.
“You’re talking about the greats of the European game, and to be up alongside them is really [amazing],” McIlroy added. “If someone had told 18-year-old Rory when I was making my professional debut in 2007 that I would have won five Order of Merits up to this point, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
McIlroy has had quite the 2023 season, despite not winning a major and finishing solo second at the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club.
But he won the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January and then the Genesis Scottish Open in July, which awarded him ample points to take home the Harry Vardon Trophy yet again.
And because of his superb play this year, he can experiment with a new driver in competition, which should help jump-start his game for 2024.