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Swing Analysis: Rory McIlroy Revisited

I love it when the swings of the greatest players are completely at odds with conventional “wisdom” regarding the techniques associated with swinging the club efficiently and powerfully. I dedicate this look at Rory Mcilroy, probably the best player on the planet at the moment, to all the “stay level and swing down the line” knuckleheads who populate television. How hard is it to do what I do? Draw the lines! Study the swings! It’s not rocket science. What makes Billy Kratzert (who was a very good player in his day) make a statement to the effect of: “Tiger is playing well because he’s staying level throughout the swing” while the video of Tiger is playing and his head is lowering like it always does? And why is lowering so awful for Tiger when the “perfect swing” of Mcilroy exhibits the exact same tendency? And what makes Butch Harmon write a piece in Golf Digest that suggests that you don’t want to swing left “because everyone slices it anyway”? I really don’t get it. I guess these guys just know what they know and think what they think, and it doesn’t really matter if there is no evidence to back up what they are saying. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad.
 

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3 Responses to Swing Analysis: Rory McIlroy Revisited

  1. Adam J Auger February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Hi Wayne, in last years Masters it was clear Rory had significant bend in his legs on the down swing and his right arm would drop behind him. However he arced the club so well, with a crazy opening of his body and straightening his right arm. In this video you indicate Rory’s right arm is in front of him due to bend in Rory’s waist on the downswing eventhough his right arm action is still a drop. If you were Rory’s coach what would be your teaching to change his teachnique… if at al? Other than Rory’s crazy talent I’m a bit confused on how he gets his right arm so straight at impact because he has a significant drop in his hands?

  2. David February 23, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Sooooo… I made some clarifying remarks (okay, it’s a dissertation) about my position on swing analysis in general, and Rory in particular, on waynedefrancesco.com (“Chamblee At It Again”). To be honest, there seem to be two categories of chaps on this site: those that agree with everything you say and those that don’t, but give obscure reasons as to why they don’t and cite even more obscure sources of authority to support those reasons. Of course there are always exceptions, and I, of all people, considering your kindness, should not be on here to bash your members. Nor am I. So, carrying on…

    As for this,
    Ha! That’s precisely the point I was making about his left foot staying flat in one of the rambling messages I left (also under “Chamblee At It Again” on waynedefrancesco.com). And I’m just now seeing this video for the first time, obviously, since it’s restricted. Good to see you’re pointing that out, though you’re only stating consequences OF it, while I was trying to state causes FOR it.
    As far as his right arm “straightening,” I can only say… huh? Did you not mention his right arm being “behind” him as something you found disfavourable in an earlier video? Am I missing something? Or did he change that too? I personally think Rory would rather his arm be a little more behind him here; he was complaining of just this very thing late last season, saying that the ball was starting to the left of his intended line, that he was hitting a lot of pulls, and that he was working on trying to keep the club coming a little more from the inside.
    And the reason Rory swings “left” in a slightly exaggerated fashion is because he’s coming from the inside when he hits the ball and the club is completing its tilted, out of round circle-like route. Swinging the club straight out away from you isn’t just “not common” — it’s nonexistent. Why? Because it’s impossible, that’s why. A human being cannot possibly swing a golf club without it going to the left after he’s hit the ball. Explain how that would be possible given the anatomy of the human body, please. If this is what Butch Harmon believes, then I’m afraid he’s completely out of touch with reality in that regard.
    Anyway, for the record, Rory pulled that shot from the tee. How do I know? Because the club goes veritcal, and he lets it fall after he’s hit it. When he does that, he’s pulled it. Every. single. time. And he seems to be getting the club rather high during the backswing here. Definitely trying to drop it in left-to-right, I should think. If I was allowed to post links to videos, which I’m not sure that I am, I could link you to several videos where the club at the top isn’t anywhere near as across-the-line-looking as it is here. He’s also hitting a shortish iron, which is likely more the reason. Is this across the line?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byGVg8AMU9w&feature=related
    And what about this, is his right arm “straight” at impact? No, it is not. You will see, if you pause it properly, that his left arm is vertically aligned with the shaft, which is why his distance control is the best in the game (because he hits the ball with the intended amount of loft on a more consistent basis than almost anyone else): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtYoo4C9quQ&feature=related
    Here’s another, notice the position of his left wrist at the top and the way he “pulls” the club from the top of his backswing down into the ball, with the hips and torso getting EXTREMELY open and the right arm, again, trailing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6YiN0_dyAA&feature=related

    His swing differs a bit when he’s working the ball to the right rather than, what is more natural to him, the left. (Everyone’s does, but his is perhaps more noticeable.)
    I’m not sure what you can see that’s of any value whatsoever with that swing out of the rough, but I see you’d like to use it to take a jab at Butch Harmon for some reason or other. Alright, fine. Take that, Butchy baby!
    I have utter disregard for authority, and perhaps a complete lack of objectivity, when it comes to McIlroy’s swing. And I also disagree with the qualifier “probably,” which is used here to indicated probability as concerns McIlroy’s status as World’s Best Player. When this video was made, there was nothing at all “probable” about the fact that Rory was playing better than anyone. In fact, it was a dead certainty. How well he’s playing right now (which is like, what, three weeks later) is yet to be seen. Coetzee down, 5(?) more to go.

    And no one has problems with players lowering during their swing. They just think they have problems with players lowering during their swing. That’s something they use as an explanatory tool in order to provide themselves with an explanation for a situation they do not understand. Kelly says, “He’s obviously not hitting it well this week, Brandel.” Chamblee responds, “There’s no doubt about it, Kelly — he’s clearly dipping his head.”
    He doesn’t mean any harm by it; it’s something he’s heard all his life. There are many common myths about many different things that the vast majority of people assume to be true, but which in reality are anything but. You’d be here all day if you tried to list them. And about each of them you could ask, “Why don’t these people take the time to check up on these things?” I mean, look at political commentary. Do I really need to say anything else? He’s not going to change, even if you sat down next to him and pointed it out on the video. Why? Pride, for one. But also because it’s sort of like his creed, almost like a religion. These people, and Brandel specifically, have been saying, thinking, and believing that golfers “dipping” is a mistake for so long, that giving up on that belief would cost them too much pyschologically. So what do they do? They make excuses for it. “Yes, but he wasn’t popping up back then…” They don’t admit they were wrong because by doing that they would thereby diminish their future credibility. After all, if you’re wrong once… what precludes you from being wrong again?
    The same principle applies to my infatuation with Rory McIlroy. What if he misses the cut at The Masters, misses 15 cuts in a row, loses his Tour card, and we never hear from him again? Then what will I do? I will proceed to make excuses like, “Damn you, Wayne, he probably saw one of your videos and was encouraged to change his swing. Look what you did! You ruined him!”
    And then I’ll lock myself in my room for a few days with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a shotgun, thinking about whether or not life is still worth living.

    I think it would be of much benefit to humanity at large if people, in far greater numbers than his now currently the case, would learn to be flexible in their beliefs and possessed at least a modicum of ability to change their previous positions. Once someone’s said something, he seems to feel an obligation to defend it come hell or high water. This is clearly an attempt to save face and not diminish future credibility, as I said earlier.
    Anyway, this is a sort of cool video, I guess. I’ve seen better from you, though, to be honest.
    I am now going to say something that will make you mad. You clearly have a philosophy that you don’t wish to see jeopardized by someone coming along that defies that philosophy and yet succeeds to, potentially, unimaginable heights. And the reason is exactly the same as the one I cited for Brandel. …You aren’t going to kill me now, are you? I don’t disagree with your philosophy, either! I just think it’d be a good idea to cite Rory as an outlier and not try to impose it on him. Every adjustment he makes you seem to see as fitting into your prearranged idea of what you would prescribe for him. Not everything you say about McIlroy is incorrect. Quite the contrary. In fact, most of it is spot-on. But I think you’re missing the forest for the trees.
    I also think this! I also think this, sir! I also think that if no one would’ve paid any attention to Rory, and if he hadn’t’ve played so well at The Masters and, subsequently, at the US Open, you’d be saying, “wow, this a great young player.” But because everyone was so outlandish in their praise of him and because the hysteria was/is so great, you couldn’t help yourself. You love being a contrarian; you love playing devil’s advocate. That’s clear! It’s clear, sir! Do you hear?
    Of course you didn’t set out with an agenda to knock McIlroy off his post, you were just analyzing his swing in the most “objective” way you knew how. But I think the little asides about Jerry Pate and such were made in scorn, and probably half in jest. Do you honestly not see him play on the European tour? He is so much better than everyone else! Gary Player, who knows nothing about the golfswing but a lot about golf, said, “he’s the most talented player I’ve ever seen.”
    Ever.
    …Ever.
    …..Ever.

    I think he’s playing crap right now and will likely not make the weekend at Dove Mountain. Who knows, though. It’s impossible to say.
    And I must finish with this: I will be the first one to sign my name to an “I was wrong and will henceforth shut up” resolution if Rory doesn’t go on to bigger and better things.

    God, I love your website!
    And thank you for the prize! (Everyone’s probably wondering: “the prize?”)
    I shall cherish its every fleeting moment these four weeks. And though it won’t last long, the memory of it will surely remain in my heart forever.
    Hahaha! No, seriously… Thanks a lot!
    And I don’t want to seem like I’m trashing Sean Foley’s teaching ability. I just don’t like hearing him talk about Newton’s Laws, that’s all. Anytime someone starts talking about physics and golf in the same sentence, get ready for a lot of bullshit.

  3. Jeffrey February 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Wayne,

    Rory McIlroy certainly has a pivot-compression swing style, which is your personal preference. I have no major objection to that type of swing style, but I have never seen you provide a biomechanical, or mechanical, explanation as to why it is a better choice.

    See this hyperlink – http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/WayneTwo.html – for my personal position.

    Jeff.

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