Since his debut in professional golf 14 years ago, Rory McIlroy has earned a reputation for being one of the longest drivers in the world – and the greatest overall driver.
“I think the fairways hit stat is always a big one for me,” McIlroy commented. “If I can hit the ball in the fairway 60% of the time, with how far that I hit it, I’m going to create a lot of opportunities for myself.
“And the more opportunities you give yourself, you know, the putts will – some weeks they’ll fall, some weeks they won’t, but I think over the last few years I’ve indeed become a more consistent putter and I certainly hole what I feel is my fair share.
“Again, that goal of hitting more fairways means maybe throttling back and hitting 3-wood a little more often or hitting clubs that are maybe not as aggressive off tees and just putting yourself in the fairway. Maybe just being a bit more of a measured and controlled golfer.”
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The Northern Irishman clearly states he wants to play a ‘more measured and controlled’ game, which would prevent him from chasing Bryson DeChambeau’s power, and instead seek the inspiration from one of golf’s most excellent ever to do it.
“I’ll certainly pick and choose my spots where I can take advantage of the driver and hit it, but the best player of the last 30 years, Tiger Woods, he picked and chose where he hit driver, and he played a very, very controlled game,” McIlroy added. “It didn’t work out too badly for him.”
Emulating Tiger isn’t the worst idea; however, McIlroy’s shot selection off the tee hasn’t offered much diversity in the past.
So, heading into the 2022 PGA season, expect the four-time major champion to withdraw the aggressive off the tee style he’s known for, even if these changes reduce one of his best-known attributes – his driving distance.
Although, he did begin to shape the ball noticeably more when testing a 9-degree TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver – words straight out of the horse’s mouth.
From the 2021 statistics, McIlroy owned the second-longest average drive on the PGA Tour – trailing one position behind DeChambeau – but notably, the Irishman fell considerably below average on his fairways hit percentage (145th out of 200 players).
BetMGM bonus code can heighten his future prices even higher because I have a funny feeling that McIlroy could silence many doubters, including the bookmakers, this year.
The good news, McIlroy’s ability to launch the ball past most of the competition means that one aspect of his game is perfected. He doesn’t need to rearrange his entire game but simply amend his approach on accuracy.
Sportsbooks will overlook his chance of success this year by paying little attention to his determination on accuracy issues.
“I think trying to eliminate the big miss off the tee, those destructive shots where you make doubles from, a reign that in a little bit and get more effective with the scoring clubs,” McIlroy said when discussing his game.
“I can certainly control if I hit 60% of the fairways. I can control if my numbers, strokes gained numbers, and stats are better than they were the year before.
“So, it’s about trying to set yourself goals that you can control and that are objective and measurable, and I guess those are the sort of goals I’ve started to set myself the last few years.
“I’d love to get my iron playback to a level it was at maybe a few years ago. You know, gaining at least half a shot to a full shot on the field with approach play. I’ve done that before; I feel like I can do that again.”
While success in the first DP World Tour event of the year didn’t go entirely to plan, McIlroy’s shot shaping ability had evidently improved.
When he can formulate a perfect combination between his long style and remain consistent for prolonged spells, beware.
This amalgamation could produce 2022’s best overall driver and a multiple championship-winning year for McIlroy.
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