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Butch Harmon warns Rory McIlroy not to get too ripped

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Butch Harmon airs his concerns that Rory McIlroy may be hitting the weights too hard and cautions him not to overdo it in the gym.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy, via a Nike video of his workout regimen posted Tuesday, showed the golf world how he transformed himself from a somewhat soft, slight golfer from Northern Ireland, to the buffed top-ranked player in the world.

And that has Butch Harmon concerned.

"I wasn’t really big into the gym," McIlroy says in the commercial. "I couldn't stand on one leg for more then 10 seconds. I couldn't hold a plank for more than 30 seconds."

Teaming up with exercise guru Dr. Steve McGregor in 2010 changed all that, and McIlroy is hooked on training that helped him win four major championships in four years.

Just don’t overdo it, Harmon urged McIlroy during an interview with Irish radio show, Off The Ball.

"I think everybody that’s any good needs the strength in the core of their body," the famed former coach of renowned gym rat, Tiger Woods, said earlier this week. "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."

After he began hitting the weights hard, Woods’ appearance underwent an overhaul similar to McIlroy's. Years later, as his body and his game began to break down, the former world No. 1 has been bashed by the punditry for becoming too brawny.

McIlroy, whose physique has metamorphosed dramatically in a relatively short time, has escaped such criticism. In fact, just the opposite, as Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo went absolutely over the moon about Rory’s new bod last year.

"Rory looking absolutely chiseled," Faldo, sounding like a star-struck fanboy, said after McIlroy began his Accenture Match Play stint.

One of McIlroy's peers commented in 2014 about Rory’s changing build, but his not-for-attribution remark was about about all the criticism anyone spoke publicly about it -- until now.

"He’s getting big, and it could affect his game, the way it did with Tiger. Have you seen him on Twitter? He’s ripped," an "Anonymous Pro" said in November. "The guy weighs 160 and hits it 340 yards. How much bigger does he need to be?"

Harmon apparently wondered the same thing.

"If you look at Tiger and how much stronger he got as he went on, you look at Rory the way he is now," Harmon said. "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.

"Hopefully, he will keep his body tone down, more like a Dustin Johnson, who’s in absolutely perfect physical shape to play golf," Harmon said.

McIlroy had that covered.

"I have no ambitions to try and squat 500 pounds like some guys you see," McIlroy said in the video, as if to thwart such tongue-wagging and, maybe, without explicitly throwing anyone under the bus, deflect any comparisons observers might make between him and Woods.

"I do enough and I'm strong enough to control the golf club the whole way through my swing," said McIlroy, who recently pumped a little iron with NFL superstars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. "That’s basically what I need to do."

McIlroy, on a two-week layoff after a T11 at Bay Hill, will next show off his beefcake -- and workout-inspired booming drives at Augusta National, where, starting on April 9, he hopes to kick off a quest for his first green jacket and personal career grand slam.

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