Why Tiger Woods Thinks Golfers Should Copy Rory McIlroy's Swing

In this video, PGA pro Ged Walters analyses what makes Rory McIlroy one of the game's best ever drivers of the golf ball

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy's driver swings
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is widely regarded as one of the best drivers of the golf ball in the history of the game. Despite standing just 5ft 10in tall, the power and speed he can generate and control with his driver is so impressive that Tiger Woods recently revealed he encourages his son Charlie to emulate the Northern Irishman's move rather than his own.

"I told Charlie, ‘Don’t copy my swing, copy Rory’s,'" Woods said at the 2022 Hero World Challenge. "Have you ever seen Rory off balance on a shot? No. Not ever. You can swing as hard as you want, but you need to have balance."

So, what is it that makes McIlroy so good off the tee and what is it the rest of us can learn from it? Using 3D analysis, in the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Ged Walters uncovers some of the secrets behind his success... 

One of the things that makes Rory so efficient is the way that he moves his pelvis. I've created a 3D model of his swing in the video above which shows what his pelvis is doing in terms of how much it turns, whether or not he sways and how much he lifts.

First of all, he's got a very neutral driver address position, so everything is very square and his hips are level. Then, when when we run it through to the top of his driver backswing, we can see his hips have turned away from the target by 40 degrees. At that point, he's really storing his energy. If we look at the sway it's -0.9 inches, which means he's moved it a fraction towards his trail side and away from the target as he's made that turn.

Rory McIlroy hitting a drive at the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

At the top of the backswing, Rory has made an excellent turn and swayed his pelvis towards his trail side

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Interestingly, McIlroy moves his pelvis down 2.6 inches from its address position as he rotates his hips for more power, with his lead knee flex increasing and his trail leg straightening. He's in a really nice position to be able to unload in the downswing.

One of the things amateurs get scared of is moving or swaying towards the target, but it's something McIlroy does brilliantly. When his driver is parallel to the ground on the way down, you can really see how he's pushed off his trail side from the top. Looking at the numbers, he's moved five inches towards the target, which is key. 

If you want to propel an object as far as possible, you've got to move the body and the pressure in that direction. This is how to get more distance in golf and where a lot of people throw away yards. However, as you do that it's vital to make sure you turn, and Rory is the master. From a pelvis position of -40 degrees at the top of the backswing, he's now at +7 degrees as he approaches impact.

Rory McIlroy hitting a drive at the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Approaching impact, Rory's pelvis is moving towards the target and he's pushing up using the ground

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He's also starting to lift his pelvis and push up through his feet. The combination of these three moves - the turn, the sway towards the target and the lift up - really help him create the optimal driver launch angle for maximum power. 

Continuing through into impact, his total pelvis sway is six inches and he's back into the same lift position he was in at address, showing how much he pushes up through the hitting zone. His total hip turn is now at +29 degrees, so he's rotated nearly 70 degrees from the top of the backswing through to impact.

Rory McIlroy hitting a drive at the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

At impact, Rory has rotated nearly 70 degrees from the top and he's thrusting his pelvis upwards

(Image credit: Getty Images)

From there, his pelvis continues to turn and sway towards the target as he pushes the energy forward and into a perfectly balance finish position. It's an incredible move to try and copy if you want to learn how to increase your golf swing speed and it's easy to see why Tiger is eager to steer Charlie in that direction. 

For everyone else, these are the three things to focus on. First, learn to use the ground better to get that lift which will help you push up through impact. Second, make sure your pelvis is turning properly as you need to create space for the hands and arms. And lastly, don't be afraid to move towards the target from the top of the backswing to propel the ball as far as possible. If you can work on these things, you'll be a little closer to driving the ball like Rory McIlroy.

Ged Walters
Top 50 Coach

Location: True Fit Golf Centre 

Using different styles, teaching aids, technology and games to measure improvements, Ged is keen to make the learning process educational and fun. He's worked with a number of top local, national and international instructors, including Adrian Fryer and Jeff Ritter, one of the most prominent golf instructors in America. He's based at True Fit Golf Centre in Warrington, where he can be found coaching golfers of all abilities. He's also working hard on his own game with the aim of playing on the senior Tour (when the time comes). 

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