Always Focus On The Basics With Rory McIlroy

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People are always amazed by how far I hit the ball off the tee. I'm not the biggest guy out here, at 5-feet-10 and 160 pounds, but I've always been long for my size. I have a lot of natural speed.

In the gym I work mostly on core stability and flexibility, which has helped make me longer. Plus, I like to swing with no fear. I'm a grip-it-and-rip-it guy. I've always played that way, and I've quickly found that nearly everyone on tour does, too.

Over the ball, I think about nothing other than the target. I don't focus on technique. But, under pressure, I do use one simple swing thought: I pick a spot a foot in front of the ball and hit over it -- hard. That takes my mind off the outcome of the shot and keeps me in the process.

The most striking aspect of young McIlroy is not his list of victories or achievements, however. It's the rhythm of his swing and the ease with which he hits the ball. "Rory's swing does have a wonderful flow to it, always has," says Michael Bannon, head professional at Bangor Golf Club in Northern Ireland and McIlroy's only teacher. "You can tell how comfortable he is by the speed at which he plays. All he needs is a couple of looks at the target before he hits."

Such instinctiveness is the result of hard work as well as inborn talent. "We've always focused on Rory's posture, alignment and ball position," says Bannon. "They are where we want them, but we keep a constant eye on them.

If he's been playing in windy conditions, he sometimes lets the ball creep back in his stance. He also has a tendency to narrow his stance a wee bit too much for the short irons.

I like the width to stay constant so he can stand into his right leg on the backswing."

How good is Rory's move? Says Geoff Ogilvy: "He might have the best swing out here."

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