Sport Golf

Saturday 18 January 2020

McIlroy cranks up the power for his march to the top

Holywood star reveals how gym work has given him new strength and stability on march to top of world

Rory McIlroy is expected to overpower the opposition at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla and win his second Major title in three weeks. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy is expected to overpower the opposition at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla and win his second Major title in three weeks. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Karl MacGinty

Rory McIlroy is golf's incredible bulk.

McIlroy has blasted his way to the top of the world since piling on nearly seven pounds of muscle in the gym over the past eight weeks.

After storming to victory in last month's British Open at Hoylake, the 25-year-old blitzed the rest of the field with his power off the tee at last weekend's Bridgestone World Championship of Golf at Firestone.

And he's expected to overpower the opposition on the lengthy Jack Nicklaus golf course at Valhalla and win his second Major title in three weeks at the US PGA Championship.

World No 1 McIlroy hit a staggering 46 of his 56 tee shots at Firestone more than 300 yards, while the average 334.8 yards he hit his driver over the week put him head and shoulders above the field.

Last night the Ulsterman, who weighs in at just 12st 4lb, revealed how he's found additional power in the gym, allowing him hit each drive an additional 20 yards since he turned professional in 2007.

"I'm definitely hitting it longer over the past couple of years," he said. "I've started to work harder in the gym and I've got stronger in certain areas of my body, which I needed to.

"I've always had the speed and I've always had the power, but I really haven't had the strength and stability to hold on to it the whole way through my swing. So, working on a couple of different things in the gym definitely has helped."

Asked if there was more to come, he shrugged: "Maybe, though it's not like I'm going to get much bigger.

"I've put on three kilograms of muscle in the last eight weeks, so that definitely helps. I'm definitely the heaviest I've ever been.

"To be honest, I don't feel like I need to put on any more distance," he added. "If I can hit it over 300 yards and am in the fairway most of the time, I'm happy enough.

"Definitely, over the past couple of weeks, it has been the best I've driven the ball and, hopefully, I can continue that."

As Tiger Woods recovered last night at home from the lower back injury that is certain to rule him out of this week's tournament, McIlroy said special strengthening exercises he has done since his late teens should stave off similar problems.

"I had an issue with my back when I was 19 or 20, but a series of exercises strengthened that area and resolved it," he said.

"Touch wood, I haven't had a problem since."

Irish Independent

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