Why the Northern Irishman is the No. 1 driver on the planet.
By Adam Scott
People talk about driving being a real strength of mine, but for me the guy who sets the standard on tour is Rory McIlroy. The way Rory’s able to generate so much speed with his body is extraordinary. He may be small in stature but he’s incredibly strong, and the speed he produces is a byproduct of good fundamentals.
When Rory swings freely with the driver it’s some of the best stuff ever… it’s relentless. If you think back to his better performances – the 2014 Open at Hoylake and PGA Championship at Valhalla – all came on the back of his domination off the tee. The 2012 PGA at Kiawah Island is another example of when he gets things right with the driver, it’s epic. I thought he was drawing the golf ball so incredibly well off the tee that week. It was so fluid.
How does he do it? Well, he’s been blessed with this ability to swing a golf club well from a young age. People still talk about his course-record 61 at Royal Portrush when he was a 16-year-old. You can’t shoot numbers like that – whether you’re 16 or 36 – unless you consistently put yourself in great positions off the tee.
The one thing I notice about Rory is he has a sound technique, with a stronger-than-neutral left hand on the club at setup [above]. He has a really solid base, and by that I mean a wide stance for stability that really sets him up to pound it. But his key move is how he is able to separate the movement of his upper body from his lower body – that’s what creates all the torque and leverage he needs to generate speed and it’s something everyone should learn from if they want more distance.
Ian Woosnam was another player who generated a lot of speed for a smaller guy – he could seriously send the ball long. But I still maintain watching Rory in full flight is as good as it gets out here.
Can he complete the fairytale this month and hoist the Claret Jug in front of his home fans? Absolutely… particularly if his driver is on and the confidence is there. The margins are so fine now in top-level golf that confidence is easy come, easy go. You don’t have to be that far off to be penalised. But as Rory showed as a 16-year-old around this place, when the confidence is there he can shoot anything.
Hopefully I can match him!
RORY’S 2019 STATS DON’T LIE
1st Strokes Gained/Tee To Green (2.381 avg)
1st Strokes Gained/Off The Tee (1.220)
1st Strokes Gained Total (2.737)
1st Eagles, Hole Per (69)
2nd Driving Distance (288.0 metres)
3rd Carry Distance (276.2 metres)
3rd Scoring Average (69.181)
(as of June 12)
Adam Scott spoke with Evin Priest