Rory McIlroy likes to keep things interesting and if contracting glandular fever at the end of 2016 didn't add enough mystery to the news season, he's about to implement a raft of big equipment changes in South Africa in two weeks' time.
According to No Laying Up, the world No 2 will use the new Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero driver, Callaway Custom Apex MB irons and the Titleist ProV1x ball in the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni from January 12:
"Speculation regarding Rory’s choice of equipment has dominated the equipment news cycle since Nike announced on August 3 that it would be abandoning its hard goods division. As NLU reported back in October, McIlroy put the TaylorMade M2 in the bag in China in his first event of the 2016-2017 wrap-around season. However he did not announce any equipment deal with TaylorMade at the time. Likewise he has not confirmed a specific endorsement deal with Callaway, telling NLU that he does not plan to sign an equipment deal in 2017."
Titleist Vokey wedges and an Odyssey prototype putter will also be in the bag for the world No 2, who confessed on December 4 that he contracted glandular fever at the end of the season and feared he might not be able to go to Dubai to test new equipment, as he had planned
"I actually contracted glandular fever after coming back from China so I’m trying to get over that, I’m still not feeling great, I’m a bit run down, so we’ll see," he told The Irish Times. "I’m supposed to go out but it will depend on what the doctor says whether I should travel or not.”
Given the long term effects that glandular fever can have on an athlete, coming back too soon may be a risk for McIlroy.
Whether it's a bigger risk than changing every piece of equipment in the bag remains to be seen. Given the importance of 2017 for McIlroy following a major-less 2016 he admits he salvaged with his FedEx Cup win, it's likely that the risk is minimal.
If a three-win 2016 was a decent but average season, McIlroy's rivals will be quaking in their boots if he puts the entire package together — especially his putting — in 2017.