May 10, 2017 / 3:09 AM / 2 months ago

Honeymoon over for McIlroy as new chapter begins

3 Min Read

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits off the second tee in third round play during the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 8, 2017.Jonathan Ernst/Files

(Reuters) - After a five-week layoff that saw him wed American Erica Stoll in an Irish castle, soak up the sun on a Caribbean honeymoon and strike a new multi-million dollar equipment deal, Rory McIlroy is keen to start a new chapter in his life at The Players in Florida this week.

"The last few weeks have been really cool. Obviously got married and went on honeymoon and enjoyed that," McIlroy told reporters at TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday.

"Got back home to Florida last Thursday, been trying to lose a bit of weight before this week ... but, yeah, everything's been great."

The 28-year-old signed a reported $100 million deal to switch to TaylorMade for the next 10 years. He previously had an equipment contract with Nike before it announced late last year that it was pulling out of that market.

The world number two, who signed a long-term extension to his Nike apparel contract in April, said he decided to switch to TaylorMade's clubs and balls starting this week after feeling a lack of control with his shots in windy conditions.

"So I sort of went back to the drawing board and tested for about 10 days pretty extensively after Augusta, worked with a lot of different things," he said.

"Saw stuff with the golf ball, that new TP5x ball that they have, and I thought, wow, this is what I need, this is exactly the thing that I've been struggling with.

"Then over the course of the next few days, I tested different combinations (of clubs), a lot of different stuff, and I came to the conclusion that that was the best way forward for me to try and improve, try and win more, try to get back to world number one, try to win more majors."

McIlroy said he felt like he was starting "a new chapter in my life ... but I really feel with the new equipment, as well, it's hopefully going to take me to that next level."

The four-times major winner did not think his intensity and focus on the golf course would change now that he is a married man, but thought marriage could be beneficial off the course.

"It might help me get over tough losses a little bit easier," said McIlroy.

"I'm in a great place in my life and I feel very settled and very lucky to be in this position. Now it's just about trying to make the most of, I guess, the fortune that I've had."

Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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