Rory McIlroy and the PGA Tour's 10 Sweetest Swings

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIAugust 9, 2012

Rory McIlroy and the PGA Tour's 10 Sweetest Swings

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    Debate all you want about who has the best swing on the PGA Tour, but for my money, it's Rory McIlroy.

    Northern Ireland's 23-year-old wunderkind has such a natural, free-flowing swing that it is the envy of anyone who attempts to hack a little white ball around, no doubt.

    There are many good swings in today's game, provided by young guns, late-bloomers, grizzled veterans, and players of all shapes and sizes.

    Here is a look on video at McIlroy and the 10 sweetest swings on the PGA Tour.

Honorable Mention

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    Hunter Mahan: One of the best ball-strikers in all of golf, Mahan comes through the ball a little bit flat. His slightly unconventional move through impact barely left him off this list.

    Brandt Snedeker: The inconsistent track record is the only reason for omitting Sneds from the list. Much of that is due to injury, too. Definitely more of a feel player who wastes no time and has a fantastic golf swing.

    Phil Mickelson: I'm more inclined to give Phil the nod as one of golf's short game maestros. He's a little bit too erratic striking the ball, especially lately. Phil the Thrill still has a nice move, though. As he proved at Pebble Beach this year, when he's on, he's on.

Justin Rose

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    Few players have a swing as compact and technically precise as Rose. Just before Tiger Woods went through a swing change, Rose began working with Sean Foley, now Tiger's golf instructor as well.

    Since Rose made the switch, the minor adjustments of his swing have resulted in him enjoying the best stretch of his career to date.

    Using a massive shoulder turn to lock in the rest of his swing, Rose generates a good amount of power and has a repeatable swing. He ranks second on Tour this year in GIR percentage, and fifth in total ball-striking.

    Tee to green, there aren't many better than Rosie.

Adam Scott

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    On this 200-plus yard shot, Scott pulled a six-iron and took dead aim. He nearly jarred it despite having the tournament well in hand.

    If you were giving a clinic on the ideal power-finesse combination in a golf swing, Scott's move would likely be Exhibit A.

    His crouched, torqued lower body gives him one of the most powerful takeaway moves in the game. From there, the Aussie explodes through impact but still manages to stay on plane more consistently than most.

    Scott is also very physically fit, which always helps the cause in generating more power.

Louis Oosthuizen

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    The 2010 British Open champion came out of relatively nowhere to demolish the field by seven strokes. Part of it was slightly aided by the weather, but obviously it was clear that Oosthuizen had some serious game.

    This year at the Masters, the 29-year-old South African proved his runaway win at St. Andrews was far from a fluke, as he lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson at Augusta.

    Oosthuizen's swing is poetry in motion, and depending what you like, it could easily be argued as the best in the game.

    His smooth rhythm is reminiscent of fellow compatriot Ernie Els, and it should result in being in contention in many more majors to come.

Dustin Johnson

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    This selection is likely to stir some debate. Perhaps it does not appear as the most conventional swing in the game, but DJ's monster lash at it is truly one of a kind, especially with the driver.

    Due to his exceptional athleticism, flexibility, and range of motion, Johnson looks as though he almost dislocates his shoulder on the backswing. That's how much extension he gets, folks.

    As Nick Faldo notes in the video, Johnson's left wrist is bowed more than just about anyone on Tour, another component of his swing that makes him able to hit it so far.

    Then, there's that follow-through.

    After generating mind-blowing speed through impact, Johnson's post-rip recoil is a trademark move that simply looks different than anything else in golf today.

Charl Schwartzel

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    After three top-five finishes in his first two months of competition, it's been a relatively quiet season for Schwartzel.

    Still, he is in the prime of his career and has managed to stay inside the Top 25 in the world rankings despite a recent slump.

    Looking at the positives, Schwartzel ranks first on the PGA Tour in proximity to the hole in the ranges between 200 and 250 yards.

    In the video above, the 2010 Masters winner shows why he can hit the longer clubs with such precision.

    The way Schwartzel progresses from a backswing that doesn't go past parallel to a downswing with plenty of room to clear the hips results in one of the more fundamentally sound swings you'll ever see.

Sergio Garcia

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    For years, the artist formerly known as El Niño has been considered one of the best drivers in the game.

    In examining his swing from behind, Garcia gets his club vertical very quickly, and gets his right elbow tucked nicely at the top. From there, he creates serious lag as he begins to turn through the hitting zone.

    The result is crunching contact nearly every time, which has made the extremely talented Spaniard an elite player throughout most of his career.

    Lately, the putter has treated him well, which is very uncharacteristic. His omnipresent long game seems to have left him.

    Whether he figures it out remains to be seen, but Garcia still has the ability to compete in any given tournament with a swing like this.

Tiger Woods

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    Impossible to leave this man off the list.

    Tiger has reconstructed his swing three different times throughout his career, which is pretty staggering considering most people can never get comfortable with one repeatable swing.

    Each time, Tiger has emerged with one of the best swings in the game, no matter what sort of adjustments he's made.

    The latest version has been honed under the tutelage of Sean Foley. Tiger had a noticeably steeper backswing under previous teachers Butch Harmon and Hank Haney.

    The new swing is much more around his body, and Nick Faldo breaks down his new angle of attack through the hitting zone in the video above.

    With three PGA Tour victories in 2012—more than any other player—Tiger is proving once again that there is a method to his swing-tweaking madness.

Jason Dufner

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    The video above compares Dufner's swing to his idol, Ben Hogan. I almost threw in a high speed camera video of Dufner's renowned waggles, but I refrained.

    Seriously, it is a bit scary how similar the current  No. 8 player in the world is able to emulate the moves of his legendary predecessor.

    There are plenty of things that make the 35-year-old Dufner a character, least of which are his waggles. He even has a hilarious, self-deprecating main photo of his tobacco habit on his Twitter account.

    Not to be overlooked, though, is how Dufner has suddenly become the best all-around ball-striker in the world. His classic golf swing is elegant, yet simple, and it has yielded two victories on the PGA Tour this season.

Ernie Els

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    The Big Easy never looks like he's trying to kill the ball. However, even at the age of 42, Els has proven he can crank it out there with the best of them.

    With the two-plane model down to an art form, the reigning British Open champion has been able to maintain an incredible level of consistency.

    It all happens so fast in real time, but Els subtly generates a ton of clubhead speed thanks to the surprising hip action he produces entering the downswing.

    As Chubbs Peterson would say, "It's all in the hips."

Rory McIlroy

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    David Feherty proclaims the swing the most beautiful in the modern era, and I agree with him.

    Not only is McIlroy's swing the most natural-looking move in the game, the movement of his hips is unlike anything golf has ever seen.

    Although his fitness has improved in the past year or so, even before then McIlroy had the unique, reverse-pivot hip action that Ian Baker-Finch breaks down.

    The marriage of such a graceful motion and the distance generated from a 5'10", 160-pound frame makes McIlroy's swing the sweetest on the PGA Tour.