The four-time major champion and former world No. 1 said last Sunday after a flat final round in the Arnold Palmer Invitational that he needed a spark to turn things around. He didn’t find it at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy, who hasn’t won since the fall of 2019, started his week with a double bogey and eight holes later he made a quadruple-bogey 8. His 154 total is the highest 36-hole score he’s posted when missing the cut. His recent struggles trace back to the fall when he started chasing Bryson DeChambeau, who bulked up and sped up to become of the one game’s longest hitters and the U.S. Open champion.
“Doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff, swing got flat, long, and too rotational,” he said. “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.
“I felt like I made some good strides. I played well at Tour Championship, played well at the U.S. 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.”
McIlroy said it will take a little time to get back to where he wants but that it’s not too far away. Basically, he has to back away from being like Bryson.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t anything to do with what Bryson did at the U.S. Open,” he said. “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, than other guys. And I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing, and 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.”