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Lee Westwood, who was No. 1 last year when he lost to McIlroy in the semifinals, doesn’t understand all the fuss. He was asked about Faldo’s comments and whether getting the feel with a new driver, golf ball and putter could take time.

“It will, it might, and everybody will blow it out of all proportion, won’t they?” Westwood said. “We all change equipment quite regularly out here, and he’s done that. I’ve changed the ball three times this year already, and drivers a couple of times. It’s no different, he’s just changed manufacturers, which you get used to one manufacturer and working with their people, and then you have to work with another manufacturer and different people. Maybe they don’t know your game quite as well.

“It’s not my problem, is it?” he said with a grin. “I smashed my drivers last week. I’m trying to find one for me. Rory’s ball and driver and clubs are down here on my priority list, so it’s not something I’ve thought about too much.”

Given the unpredictable nature of match play, this week might not be the best measure of a player’s game. McIlroy is comfortable with where he is, and if nothing else, he certainly is rested.

After missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, he went to the French Alps with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, and then spent some time in Monaco before going to Florida to work.

“I’m actually much happier with how I’m swinging the club,” he said. “The clubs were performing fine in Abu Dhabi, it was just the fact that I wasn’t swinging at my best. But I did a lot of good work with Michael (Bannon) over the past 10 days, and I feel like I’ve turned a corner with my swing. I’ve got it back on track, and that’s ultimately what’s going to help me play better.”