Rory McIlroy on gaining distance: Want to 'know I have it if I need it'

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Rory McIlroy prompted a metaphorical double-take on social media last week when images surfaced of the Northern Irishman tinkering with a new driver shaft that produced Bryson DeChambeau-like golf ball speed (191 mph). On Wednesday, he acknowledged he continues to chase more distance.

“I think length has always been an advantage in this game,” he said at the CJ Cup. “I’ve always been pretty long. I think what I want to do is at least know that I have it if I need it.”

McIlroy said his recent tinkering wasn’t necessarily related to the well-known gains that DeChambeau has made in recent months but he did say it’s the way the U.S. Open champion has been training that’s intrigued him.

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“Bryson, when he speed trains, he just hits the ball into a net, so he doesn’t really know where it’s going, he’s just trying to move as fast as he can, and it’s trying to get your body used to moving that way and sort of making the target irrelevant for a time being and then you can sort of try to bring it in from there,” McIlroy said. “The last couple weeks it’s the fastest I’ve ever moved the club, the fastest my body’s ever moved.”

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McIlroy also addressed the issue of whether the distance craze has reached a tipping point.

“It’s the way the game’s going,” he said. “I got sent a really good article last weekend, it was in the Wall Street Journal just about every single sport becoming faster, longer, stronger and I don’t think golf’s any different. I’m just trying to keep up with the way it’s going.”