Rory McIlroy 'Frustrated' After Changing Swing to Chase More Distance, Speed

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 13, 2021

Rory McIlroy, of Nothern Ireland, tees off on the 18th hole during a practice round for The Players Championship golf tournament Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy shot 10-over through 36 holes at the Players Championship and missed the projected cut line by 10 strokes.

After his second round, McIlroy spoke with reporters about his frustrations regarding his swing changes.

"Probably the swing issues and where it all stems from, probably like October last year, doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff, swing got flat, long, and too rotational,'' McIlroy said, per ESPN's Bob Harig.

"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. That's what I'm frustrated with."

McIlroy, a four-time major winner who took home the 2019 Players Championship, shot seven-over 79 on Thursday before finishing with a three-over 75 on Friday. He has 18 professional wins to his name, with his last victory occurring at WGC-HSBC Champions in Nov. 2019.

Bryson DeChambeau's performance at the 2020 U.S. Open played a part in McIlroy's decision to switch things up after he dominated the field and won by six shots. No other player shot under par aside from DeChambeau, and that prompted the Northern Irishman to try to switch things up:

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't anything to do with what Bryson did at the U.S. Open. 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 I maybe justto the detriment a little bit of my swing, I got there, but I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit.''

McIlroy has largely fared well since the 2020 U.S. Open aside from the Players Championship. Heading into Thursday, McIlroy made seven-of-eight cuts, finishing in the top 10 three times and never worse than 21st. He entered Thursday coming off a pair of top-10 performances at the WGC-Workday Championships and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The Players' Championship was undoubtedly disappointing, but McIlroy sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

"It'll take a bit of time," McIlroy said. "Like with anything, the slightest change in your swing is going to feel uncomfortable for a while.

"It's not like it's that far away. I go back to last September, October is where it looked and felt pretty good, so it's just a matter of sort ofmaybe not erasing the stuff, I'd still like to keep the speed and what I've been able tobut just not make the swings that are sort of producing that speed."

Per Harig, McIlroy's next event will be the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play beginning March 24. He'll then take time off before the Masters starts on April 8.