McIlroy only managed to play eight holes when play was first halted mid-afternoon and then later abandoned for the day.
All five Nike players; the Ryder Cup duo of Paul Casey and Francesco Molinari along with Spain’s Pablo Martin, England’s Simon Dyson and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, wasted little time packing the crimson coloured driver into their golf bags.
Martin shot a four-under-par 67 to trail Dane Thomas Bjorn by two while Casey continues to ride a wave of good form to card a three-under-par 68 on the Sentosa Resort course.
The new driver has a large chunk missing from the back of the head but it’s secret lies at the end of the shaft, and with Casey unscrewing the head to reveal an adjustable dial with the numbers 7 to 12, and thus allowing the golfer to adjust the actual loft of the clubface.
Casey, while looking forward to the marketing and financial boost of a Tiger Woods/Rory McIlroy-led promotion drive at Nike, says McIlroy will have no trouble adjusting to the company’s equipment.
“I’ve been with Nike for about eight years and the funny thing is I switched from Titleist to Nike,” he said breaking into a huge smile.
“I changed to Nike in ’05 but then it didn’t take me any time to adapt and actually I won straight away, so my transition for equipment was very smooth and I slotted in beautifully.
“That [Covert driver] is made in the same titanium factory in Taiwan, or wherever it is, where they make drivers for five other manufacturers.
“So it’s all very similar and while some may be better than others, the quality of the equipment is second to none.
“And I read what Nick Faldo said [about McIlroy struggling to adapt to his new clubs] but it’s not an issue nowadays, as there is so much testing that goes on and there is so much data about so there is the ability to manufacturer a club to a player’s individual specifications, and you could not do that decades ago.”
Pádraig Harrington and Peter Lawrie were the only Irish players to complete their rounds yesterday, but there was hardly any joy for the bearded Harrington in a three-over-par 74 that included a bogey and a 13th-hole double bogey when he found the water.
He is battling to avoid missing the cut for a third year in a row here, while Lawrie finished two shots better off.