Rory McIlroy Should Not Bulk Up Too Much, Says Butch Harmon

Sunday March 29th, 2015
Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
AP/Reinhold Matay

There’s no denying Rory McIlroy has spent time in the weight room the past few years.

But is he overdoing it?

Swing guru Butch Harmon thinks he might be. Harmon broached the topic after first expressing his admiration for McIlroy during an interview on Irish radio show Off The Ball earlier this week.

"If you look at Tiger and how much stronger he got as he went on, you look at Rory the way he is now, the only caution I would give Rory is, I see a lot of pictures of him lifting a lot of very heavy weights and I think, in a way, you can almost hurt yourself in the gym if you get too bulky," Harmon said. "Hopefully, he will keep his body tone down, more like a Dustin Johnson, who’s in absolutely perfect physical shape to play golf.”

Harmon coached Woods during eight of his 14 major titles and saw firsthand the transformation Woods went through in the weight room. Harmon also told Off The Ball he'd gladly spend a day with Tiger on the range but has no desire to be his coach.

"Personally, I don’t think he needs a coach," Harmon said of Woods. "I think he needs to go to the range and hit some shots and go back to playing golf. He looks like he plays golf swing now and doesn’t play golf. The 10 years I had him he always painted pictures. He had a vision of his shot. He’d see the trajectory of it, the shape of it and then he’d go ahead and create it. What I’ve seen in Tiger in the last few years is he’s more of a robot trying to create positions in the swing instead of trying to play golf."

In the interview, however, Harmon didn’t dismiss weight-training, but said golfers should focus on their core strength. He also called McIlroy "far and away the best player in the world."

"I think everybody that’s any good needs the strength in the core of their body," Harmon said. "That helps support your back and your back is not geared for making a golf swing thousands and thousands of times and you have to have the strength in your core to handle that."

Harmon now coaches Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, among others.

McIlroy, the world’s top-ranked player, hasn’t shied away from promoting his workouts on social media. He and Nike recently released a video showing McIlroy working out in the gym.

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