Sport Golf

Saturday 1 October 2016

McIlroy hits back at gym critics: 'I'm a golfer not a body builder'

Published 18/02/2016 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy has responsed to criticism by posting a video of himself doing squats: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
Rory McIlroy has responsed to criticism by posting a video of himself doing squats: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

Rory McIlroy's muscular body-shape and his workout routine caused a flurry of comment in the international media yesterday following Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee's concern about the amount of training the four-time Major winner does in the gym.

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Chamblee, a former PGA Tour winner and an astute observer of the game, made his comments in an NBC Sports conference call with media representatives.

"I say it with a lot of trepidation, because it's a different era for sure, and I don't know the full extent of what he's doing, but when I see the things he's doing in the gym, I think of what happened to Tiger Woods.

"And I think more than anything of what Tiger Woods did early in his career with his game was just an example of how good a human being can be. What he did towards the middle and end of his career is an example to be wary of.

"That's just my opinion. And it does give me a little concern when I see the extensive weightlifting that Rory is doing in the gym."

He also said: "Thus far, there's been no signs that it's adversely affected his game."

The response from McIlroy was to post a video of himself doing squats and a tweet that said: "Re the squats it was the last set of 3x3 at 120kg(265lbs). Did 3x10 at 100kg(225lbs) before that. I'm 165lbs. I'm a golfer not body builder."

In other words: 'Back off, I know what I'm doing' would appear to be a fair interpretation of McIlroy's feelings on the matter.

In fairness to Chamblee, the example of Tiger Woods, the man who really popularised gym workouts for professional golfers over the last 20 years, indicates the dangers of taking the off-course training too far.

Woods, as former coach Hank Haney revealed in his book 'The Big Miss', constantly pushed the envelope with his workouts, even to the extent of undergoing several trips for Navy SEAL training. A series of knee and back problems have diminished Wood's physical prowess to the extent that he is currently out of action, and at the age of 40, a return to golf, if there is one, is unlikely to restore Tiger to his former glories.

McIlroy, 26, is in his prime and given the expertise available to him, is unlikely to overdo the gym work.

Today he tees it up in the $6.8 million Northern Trust Open at Riviera CC in Pacific Palisades, as does Jordan Spieth.

The world No 1 has played the tournament four times, and that should give him an advantage.

It's a measure of the test presented by the par-71, 7,322 yards layout that Lanny Wadkins still holds the tournament record of 264 - and he set that mark in 1985. However, records are a bonus. McIlroy is only focused on winning.

"This is a time where I have to make the most of everything. I have to get after it and win as many as I can.

"Everything else that goes along with that, whether it be world No 1 or winning FedEx Cups, that's sort of a by-product of playing well and winning tournaments," said McIlroy.

Pádraig Harrington, who finished 21st at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, is the only other Irish player in the field at Riviera.

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