Still adjusting, McIlroy resumes battle with Woods

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:30pm EST
 
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By Simon Evans

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy will be keen to dispel any doubts about the impact of his equipment change in this week's Honda Classic where he comes up against a field featuring Tiger Woods.

McIlroy is the defending champion at the PGA National course after a victory last year that sent him to the top of the world rankings for the first time.

Since that win, where the Northern Irishman held off a late charge from Woods, McIlroy has claimed three more victories, including the PGA Championship.

But last month, the 23-year-old switched his club brand from Titleist to Nike in a lucrative deal reported to be worth as much as $250 million over 10 years.

Former world number one Nick Faldo called the change in club manufacturers "dangerous" and the concerns have hardly been eased given the two-times major winner's slow start to the year.

McIlroy has played just three professional rounds in three months, missing the cut in the Abu Dhabi Championship last month and suffering a first-round exit in the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championship last week in Arizona.

While there is plenty of speculation about how tricky he might be finding the adjustment to new clubs, McIlroy certainly is not feeling the pressure yet.

"It's fine, I knew coming into it was going to be a bit of a process and I knew it there was going to be comments if it didn't happen for me right way," he told reporters.   Continued...

 
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy hits off the 8th tee against Shane Lowry of Ireland during the weather delayed first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona in this file photo taken February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan