Rory McIlroy: I've ruined my swing trying to copy Bryson DeChambeau

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
McIlroy was honest about his troubles following his Sawgrass exit - USA TODAY
McIlroy was honest about his troubles following his Sawgrass exit - USA TODAY

Rory McIlroy has admitted messing up his swing in an attempt to emulate Bryson DeChambeau. In a stunningly honest self-critique, the Northern Irishman pointed the finger squarely at his own desire for speed and power to explain the loss of form that saw him miss the cut at The Players Championship and leave him with a race against time to recover his renowned rhythm for next month’s Masters.

Professional golfers simply do not do this. In the wake of an ignominious display - which McIlroy’s certainly was at Sawgrass, as the defending champion fell short of the weekend by 10 shots - they will either refuse to talk or grunt platitudes. But McIlroy stepped off the Stadium course after a second-round 75 to go with his opening 79 and let loose - on himself.

“Where it all stems from is probably like October last year, doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff,” he said. “Swing got flat, long, and too rotational. Obviously I added some speed and 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.

“Why did I do it? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, whoa, if this is the way they're going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps.

“The one thing that people don't appreciate is how good Bryson is out of the rough. Not only because of how upright he is but because his short irons are longer than standard, so he can get a little more speed through the rough than us other guys. And I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing, and maybe just to the detriment a little bit of my swing, I got there. But I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit.”

A bulked up DeChambeau has achieved ball-speeds of more than 200mph, as well as carrying one drive more than 400 yards - USA TODAY
A bulked up DeChambeau has achieved ball-speeds of more than 200mph, as well as carrying one drive more than 400 yards - USA TODAY

All this will be music to the ears of Dechambeau. In setting out on what he termed “my revolution”, he knew that he could create enough waves for the others to copy. And he knew how difficult it would be to replicate. In piling on the pounds - over three stone in lockdown - and building up the bulk, he gave himself the foundations to go hunting for length. He posted his exhaustive workouts on social media and, more pertinently, also gave glimpses into his sessions on the range.

DeChambeau achieved ball-speeds of more than 200mph (the Tour average is around 170mph), as well as carrying one drive more than 400 yards. The 27-year-old proceeded to put this might into operation on the course blitzing the field at the US Open at Winged Foot last September. McIlroy explained how that turned his head.

“I felt like I made some good strides up to and including Winged Foot,” McIlroy said. “I played well at the Tour Championship and then actually played well at the US Open [where he finished eighth]. I look at my swing there and I would be pretty happy with that again.

“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.”

McIlroy will now go to work. He has three weeks. Wayne Riley, the Sky Sports analyst, believes he should scratch the WGC Match Play, the only event on his schedule between now and the Masters, and “arrive in Augusta, fresh”. McIlroy has put his swing out of sync and that has led to a horrendous two-way miss.

His results going into The Players were actually not shabby at all, with back-to-back top-10s and a third in his curtain-raiser to the season in Abu Dhabi in January. But he has fallen outside the top 10 for the first time in three years, has not won in 17 months and his confidence is plainly shot. After a gruelling eight week stretch in which he has played seven times, he could surely do with a break, but he is desperate to exorcise the gremlins in time for his latest shot at becoming just the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam.

“I want to get on the range right away and try to get through this,” he said. “First and foremost I have to be able to hit the shots and get the ball starting on my line and control the flight and control the spin. At the minute I'm struggling to do that, and if you can't do that going to Augusta, you've got no chance.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting