Tiger Woods may be Rory McIlroy’s boyhood idol, but that doesn’t mean the heir apparent has to emulate his hero in every way. Like completely alter his swing the way Woods has four times in his 16 years on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy, who has become Woods’ favorite playing partner of late, said Tuesday he had no plans to revamp the way he blasts the ball off the tee or from the fairway.
"We [professional golfers] are always trying to improve. We are always trying to get better," McIlroy told reporters ahead of this week’s Hong Kong Open. "That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to overhaul your game or try and change your swing in any way."
Hmm. Was that a swing Rory took at his BFF? Because we know from the chat the two had when the mic was open during last month’s Duel at Jinsha Lake that the topic of Woods’ renowned swing changes came up -- at Tiger’s instigation.
Woods acknowledged he was "struggling with Sean [Foley, his swing coach].
"I’ve been hitting my short irons so [bleeping] far," said Woods, who added that his most recent former coach, Hank Haney, didn’t believe in taking divots with a short club but that Foley advocated scattering pelts the size of Rhode Island across the course.
"All of a sudden," Woods said to McIroy as they sauntered down the fairway, "I’m thinking divots."
McIlroy had little to add during that bro-to-bro exchange, but perhaps he had the conversation in mind during his meet the press moment on Tuesday. For sure, the 23-year-old two-time champ said he would not rest on his award-winning laurels, but it sounded as if his modifications during the short off-season would amount to minor tweaks compared with Woods’ extreme makeover.
"Just make improvements on different aspects of the game, whether that be your bunker play or your chipping from semi‑rough or your ability to hit the shot left‑to‑right or right‑to‑left," McIlroy said. "There's always different aspects of the game that you can improve, and I'm going to try to keep doing that obviously, and I feel like I've gradually progressed and gradually improved every year that I've been a pro. That's definitely something that I still want to do going into 2013."
Seems like a sound plan for the presumptive PGA Tour Player of the Year who earlier this week clinched the same prize from the PGA of America and has locked up the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours.
"Picking up these awards at the end of the year is always a nice honor and it's very special, and looking ahead to next year," McIlroy summed up. "I just want to keep improving, keep trying to become a better golfer and if I can do that, then hopefully the tournament wins will come and more majors will come with that, also.
"I'm not putting any sort of goals or targets out there," he added. "I just want to keep trying to improve and keep trying to get better."
File under: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (which just happens to be Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee’s mantra when it comes to Woods’ swing).