After missing the cut at The Players Championship on Friday, McIlroy revealed that Bryson DeChambeau's victory at the US Open had inspired him to gain distance and speed.
McIlroy Reveals Quest For Distance And Speed Has Led To Swing Problems
Rory McIlroy’s defence of The Players Championship ended in disaster as rounds of 79 and 75 meant he missed the cut by 10-shots.
But it was after his three-over-par round on Friday that the Northern Irishman revealed that, in his pursuit for more distance and speed, he had developed swing faults.
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The reason for McIlroy’s bid for more distance had actually stemmed from Bryson DeChambeau’s victory at the US Open in September 2020.
“I’d be lying if it wasn’t something to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, if this is the way they’re going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps.” Mcilroy said.
When golf returned from lockdown, McIlroy was paired with DeChambeau at the Charles Schwab Challenge, getting to see his body and swing transformation first hand. At that time McIlroy acknowledged the difference was obvious.
“He hit a couple drives on Sunday that Harry [his caddie] and I just looked at each other, and we’re like, holy s**t, that was unbelievable.”
Initially, though, the Northern Irishman said he would not be following DeChambeau’s path of increased distance and speed, stating he felt his game is better when he feels ‘fit and light.’
But after seeing the American’s dominant six-shot victory at Winged Foot, McIlroy’s mindset soon changed.
“I was doing a little bit of speed training and started getting sucked into that stuff, and my swing got flat, long, and too rotational.
“Obviously I added some speed and I am hitting the ball longer, but what that did to my swing as a whole probably wasn’t a good thing, so I’m sort of fighting to get back out of that. That’s what I’m frustrated with.
“I felt like I made some good strides. I played well at the Tour Championship, played well at the US Open. I sort of look back at Winged Foot and I look at my swing there, and I would be pretty happy with that again.
“And then after Winged Foot I had a few weeks before we went to the West Coast and I started to try to hit the ball a bit harder, hit a lot of drivers, get a bit more speed, and I felt like that was sort of the infancy of where these swing problems have come from. So it’s just a matter of trying to get back out of it.”
The four-time major champion admitted that he had also felt fatigued and “achy” during his seventh tournament in eight weeks, hinting that he may miss the WGC-Match Play at the end of March to fully prepare for The Masters in April.