Rory McIlroy begins shift to new equipment

Tiger Woods watches at the Ryder Cup

According to Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte, McIlroy was warming up with a TaylorMade M2 driver and fairway woods at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.

The sportswear giant announced in August that it was exiting the club-making industry with the intention to, instead, "accelerate innovation" in golf footwear and apparel.

Rory McIlroy of Europe reacts on the seventh green during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. Most recently, McIlroy narrowly beat out Johnson for the FedEx Cup when he won the Tour Championship in a playoff.

However, the 27-year-old had never finished outside the top six at Sheshan International until his share of 11th place last year, when he had to miss the pre-tournament pro-am due to a bout of food poisoning.

September turned out to be quite a month for McIlroy and for Fitzgerald.

He continued: "It's sort of one of these things where I've won it three of the last four years and I've sort of got used to ending the season on a bit of a high in Dubai".

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Change, he said, was inevitable, and that could include everything from his driver to his irons to his wedges to his golf ball. "I need something that works. I'm also very happy that the event is pushing through for the Filipino golf fans", said Day, who although can no longer make it this year, has assured the Philippines of a visit in 2017.

The 28-year old is around a million points behind Masters champion Danny Willett, but with each pound of prize money equating to one point in the Race to Dubai standings, winning this week in China and earning the €1.5million on offer for the victor will close that gap significantly, and perhaps even send the Ulsterman to the top of the standings.

According to one player, Nike has said it will honor contracts but that it will pay only 50 cents on the dollar if a player signs another equipment deal.

"I've a lot of ground to make up but, if I play the way I know I can, I can make up some of that ground".

"This is my first professional title defence so I'm really going to try to soak it all in, do my best, and see what happens".

"If someone wants to endorse me for using them, then great", he said.