Swing Sequence: Rory McIlroy

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Rory McIlory The youngest gun on Tour has a 'classic' modern-day swing Analysis by Top 100 Teacher Dave Phillips, Titlist Performance Institute, Oceanside, Calif. Northern Ireland phenom Rory McIlroy has a classic modern-day swing, which blends great lower-body stability and lots of torso rotation through impact. His lower-body stability allows him to restrict the rotation of his hips during his backswing so he can build greater coil with his upper body. His torso turn allows him to use every ounce of the torque created by his coil and to swing through impact at eye-popping speeds. What really separates Rory's swing from the pack, however, is his ability to tilt his pelvis during his downswing without moving it closer to the ball, which causes his upper body to lean away from the target while his lower body is moving toward it — powerful stuff. At just 20, Rory has a swing and skill set rarely seen at his age — and more than likely a great career ahead of him. He'll gain more confidence with each event.
2 of 11 Fred Vuich/SI
1. Rory is balanced on three well-defined posture angles (ear to hip, hip to knee joint, knee to ankle joint). His back is flat from his tailbone to just past the middle of his back, ideal for a powerful rotation.
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2. Nice takeaway, with the club outside of his hands and his hips resisting. If your hips move too early in your backswing, you can't create the coil between your lower and upper body you need for long drives.
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3. Notice how little Rory's hips have moved in relation to his shoulders — he's really winding his torso against his hips. This is like the handle of a slingshot staying still as you pull the sling.
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4. Rory's hips are still resisting, aided by his ability to keep the flex in his right knee. Check out the difference between his shoulder and hip turn. You need great range of motion and flexibility to do this.
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5. Rory's club has moved, but only because his lower body is shifting and turning back toward the target. You often see a slight squat with great players as they shift their weight back to their lead leg.
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6. Rory's belt line is flattening but his rear end is not moving closer to the ball. This tuck of the pelvis allows power hitters to rotate through impact and transfer energy from the lower body to the torso.
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7. The moment of truth: Rory's hips and chest are open to the target at impact. His belt line is level and he's pushing off his right foot. That's why his ball speed is 176 mph, way above Tour average.
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8. Everything continues to rotate through impact. Notice how the butt end of the club is still pointing at the middle of his chest and the clubhead is back out in front of him.
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9. His club exits back on plane and his torso and head are still rotating through impact, evidenced by his right foot continuing to lift up. His right leg is nice and long, which means his right side has really moved.
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10. Just like his address position in Frame 1, Rory is perfectly balanced in his finish. His torso has never stopped rotating, and the club shaft has swung beautifully around his neck. • Read Michael Bamberger's profile of McIlroy