• European Tour

Casey: Nike clubs not to blame for McIlroy's struggles

ESPN staff
July 2, 2013
Paul Casey has been associated with Nike for a number of years © Getty Images

Irish Open champion Paul Casey has defended the quality of Nike's golf equipment, insisting that Rory McIlroy will find his feet with the new clubs sooner rather than later.

McIlroy has struggled for form since joining the Nike stable at the start of 2013, with the change of clubs and ball blamed in many quarters for his inability to contend for tournament victories.

The Northern Irishman is visiting Nike on Thursday in order to attempt to finally find a driver setup that suits him - but Casey, also a Nike athlete, is adamant the clubs themselves are not the problem.

"I must admit, I've not had a Nike question in a while," Casey, who has played the brand for a number of years, said. "Whatever I say could be quite delicate!

"I have the fullest confidence in Rory and I think I would agree with what I've been reading, which is that Rory is kind of a streaky player, but I have 100 per cent confidence in Rory being back in the winner's circle very, very soon.

"I talk to Rory on the range but I don't know what he's working on or what he's been struggling with equipment-wise. We have so many different specs. He's using a different golf ball to me, a different shaft, a different head. It's so many variables.

"But it really frustrates me when I read negative press about Nike and their equipment. They are a legitimate golf brand, legitimate golf company, and people don't necessarily see what I see behind the scenes with the R&D (research and development) and the personnel that are making fantastic golf products.

"It's right up there; I would put three or four other manufacturers up there in the same ballpark. It is not inferior (equipment) in any way, and this is just something that he is just trying to get right. I have confidence that he will."

Casey returned to the winner's circle at Carton House last week, his first win for over two years. The Englishman, who has dealt with some complicated injury issues in that time, believes a simple tweak was responsible for him rediscovering his winning touch.

"Last week for me the putting clicked," he noted. "I actually switched putters and put a new putter in. It's the same Nike putter, looks the same but has dots on top to line the ball up; that was the only difference."

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