Rory McIlroy Tweaks Swing Mechanics after the Masters

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 13: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks on the fifth hole during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 13: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks on the fifth hole during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) /

After finishing T-21 at the Masters, Rory McIlroy has gone back to the drawing board.

“Going into Augusta, if I wanted to shape one, I would shape it a lot right to left or I would shape it a lot left to right where you’re aiming so far in either direction you’re playing for a big curve or a big miss and that’s never really been my game,” Rory McIlroy said in his pre-tournament press conference at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Since then, he and his coach, Michael Bannon, have been working on what Rory McIlroy called “neutralizing” his swing. He’s starting to see progress.

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“I could see the compression on the golf ball, and the shapes I was hitting on the range last week were much better,” he explained. “If I wanted to hit a two-or three-yard draw, I could do it instead of having to aim 15 yards right and really rely on hands to turn the golf ball over, or the other way.”

He still has some shots that are making him unsettled. And he mentioned two of those in particular that made him uncomfortable at Augusta National, the second shot on the 11th hole and the tee shot on 17th hole.

“I struggled with both of those shots throughout the four days. So, I just went back and looked at those,” he added.

That’s when he noticed some things were not right. It was a domino effect. He thought his posture was slack. He noticed that he did not have a lot of hip hinge. His belt line, he noticed, was flat, without tilt. That caused him to have a flatter shoulder plane.

“Club and sort of arms were getting behind me early in the golf swing, and then from there the club has to travel such a long way to get back down in front of me,” he noted.

He said from that point, there he was counting on timing.

“I was relying a lot on sort of upper body rotation, just sort of out of sync a little bit,” he said. “I was sort of coming up out of my posture and sort of falling back on my heels.”

Most of the rest of us just hope to make contact someplace on the face of the golf club. But at McIlroy’s level, things are clearly different. You’d definitely need a split screen to analyze what he really means. Even then, it might not be visible to anyone but a high-level instructor.

However, this week, he returns to Quail Hollow which was the site of his first PGA Tour victory in 2010.

He’s obviously comfortable with the golf course, and he likes the transition from Wells Fargo to the PGA Championship.

“I think it would be a little different if you were going straight from the Masters into the U.S. Open because they’re two completely different tests,” he said. “I would assume Bethpage is going to feel like a normal PGA Tour setup, you’re not really going to have to do anything differently.”

He doesn’t plan to go look at Bethpage Black in advance.

“I’ve never done that for a PGA before, and I’ve done pretty well at them,” he added. He has already won two of them, in 2012 and 2014.

And because his record has been abysmal in the U.S. Open since his victory at Congressional in 2011, he is just playing his way into it.

“I’ve been pathetic at the U.S. Open, so I’ve changed that up, I’m going to make that my third week in a row,” he quipped. “Three missed cuts in a row. It is pathetic. You could do that.”

He meant the media, and it got a laugh, because we know better.

Instead of skipping a week or taking a week off, McIlroy’s playing The Memorial, the Canadian Open and then the U.S. Open.

As far as a formula for success in majors, Rory McIlroy said he would like the secret if anybody has it.

“If you’re playing good enough, you’re going to get yourself into contention more times than not, and you just hope that some of those weeks are the bigger weeks,” McIlroy noted. “If I look back through all the success that I’ve had winning tournaments, whether it be a major or not, I always go back to the fact that, oh, yeah, I was in a really good place that week.”

He meant how he feels.

Next. Wells Fargo Championship: Dark Horse Candidates at Quail Hollow. dark

“That’s why I’ve been quite, you know, outspoken about that because I think that’s what will help me ultimately win more majors, is being in the right place mentally,” he concluded.