1) New M2 driver in the bag for McIlroy

TaylorMade might have Jason Day and Dustin Johnson on their books but there can be no bigger endorsement of their equipment than when free agent Rory McIlroy puts them in his bag.

McIlroy can basically now play whatever clubs he wants after Nike revealed this summer that they would be exiting the clubs and balls market. The Northern Irishman has indicated that he has already tucked aside a three-year batch of Nike’s RZN Tour Platinum balls but the move away from the clubs began when he used a Scotty Cameron mallet as he won twice on the PGA Tour.

Now TaylorMade’s M2 driver, a degree lower at 7.5˚ than his Nike driver, and fairway wood have joined the four-time Major winner’s bag and the early signs are fairly promising.

“I’m trying a couple of things. It definitely doesn’t mean that it’s permanent, but it gives me the freedom to go at the end of the year and try some stuff out and be in the position where I can use whatever in my golf bag that fits me 100 per cent the best,” McIlroy said. “So that could be a certain driver and then a different brand of 3-wood and a different branded set of irons and different wedges and a different putter. That’s a process that I’m still working through.”

And McIlroy was in good company in China (where he tied for fourth) with Nike stalwarts Paul Casey and Francesco Molinari also using the M2.

2) Casey leaves Ryder Cup door open

Paul Casey is now the fifth highest ranked European in the world and he hasn’t ruled out another Ryder Cup appearance in the future.

The Englishman gave up his European Tour membership in January to concentrate on the PGA Tour, a move that has paid off with a host of high finishes though still no second win.

But the prospect of a fourth outing in Paris is a real possibility and Casey also added that he had watched the matches at Hazeltine.

“I mean, certainly, a decision I made to focus in the States, I feel has paid dividends. It’s made things a lot simpler for me. You know, I think it’s reflected in the golf I’ve played. But there still are desires to play in another Ryder Cup and play some more stuff in Europe. But right now the focus is here and I am enjoying it.”

And of the 17-11 reversal he added: “It was really tough watching that. My biggest thing was I felt a lot for a lot of rookies. I really wanted Sully and Woody, Fitz and these guys, the rookies to have a great experience. There’s nothing like representing your country.
“But hats off to the Americans. Played phenomenal golf. They holed the putts. And the performances by Mickelson and Reed were just absolutely flawless, and you have to applaud that, tremendous stuff.”

3) Small print stymies Kuchar

Matt Kuchar holed-in-one on Saturday in Shanghai but seven yards and some poor conditioning meant he missed out on a shiny, new Cadillac.

On the day the American holed out from 193 yards but it would count for nothing. The slight good news was that Kuchar had been made aware of the ruling by his caddy just before hitting but it still hurt.

“That was probably one of the saddest hole-in-ones I’ve ever had, in that most of the time a hole-in-one, you’re just overjoyed with excitement. But then there’s a car sitting there, the most beautiful Cadillac sitting on a tee with the note.”

Supposedly Henrik Stenson asked for the tee to be moved up so he might owe Kuchar at least a drink.

“Henrik came up and said, “My fault, the back tee box was not in very good shape.” He was the one that asked for the tees to be moved forward. I guess that made the hole far too easy I guess.”

4) Daly: I never drank at a tourney (apart from this one time..)

When John Daly does an ESPN documentary – ‘Hit It Hard’ – you know you will get a few juicy stories. Whatever anyone says about Daly he will always be honest and entertaining and this was no different.

The two-time Major champion begins one story with the words ‘I never drank in a golf tournament…’ before revealing a brilliant story about the LA Open.

“It was so slow and I played the back nine first,” Daly said. “I think I’m two or three over. I went in the locker room and downed like five beers, and I think I shot four under on the front nine. That is the only time I know that I ever drank during a round, and I played great. I played great that week. I finished strong.”

It’s not clear how long he was in the locker room but you get the impression that he just shovelled all five down one after the other.

Daly added that he played plenty of rounds hungover or still drunk from a late night. Other tidbits included that he lost something like $95-98 million gambling with winnings of $40-45 million.

“The game of golf, if you’re in the hunt, you’ve got adrenaline going,” Daly said. “But you got 140 to 300, 400,000 on the blackjack table you’re going to have adrenaline. And I think that’s what I loved more than anything.” 

5) Opportunity Knox…

Russell Knox might not have got the nod for the Ryder Cup but he has been mistaken for Justin Timberlake.

It might seem an odd lookalike but it‘s not a million miles away even if the Scot’s wife, former tennis player Andrea Hernandez, was not buying into it.

“She was like: `No, never. I don’t see it. I don’t think so’,” Knox said. “And that same day, at the St John’s Town Center, this woman runs up to me screaming.”

But it seems that the woman’s excitement didn’t last too long… “She gets five steps away and was ‘Oh’ and walked away.”

Whatever the passing similarity it makes a nice change from Nick Faldo and Harrison Ford which has been doing the rounds for the last 30 years.

Russell Knox

Justin Timberlake