Rory McIlroy calls in swing guru Butch Harmon to fix two-swing conundrum before Masters

Rory McIlroy has brought in revered coach Butch Harmon as he tries to fix his ‘two-swing’ conundrum in time for next week’s Masters.

The world No 2 is playing in San Antonio at the Valero Texas Open as a preparation event for his 10th attempt at becoming the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam. Since a rousing season’s start in Dubai in January – where he finished second and first – McIlroy has performed indifferently on the PGA Tour, recording just one top-20 finish in five tournaments.

The 34-year-old has made no secret of the fact that he has been struggling with his game, primarily with his approach play. He has put in the work over the past fortnight and last week was seen at Michael Jordan’s ultra-exclusive Grove XXIII near his home in South Florida.

McIlroy went through some exhaustive sessions on the range with Michael Bannon, his fellow Ulsterman who has overseen the famously rhythmic motion since the four-time major winner was eight years old. It has emerged – firstly through United States website GolfWRX – that he also enlisted the renowned advice of Harmon.

The 80-year-old guided Tiger Woods to his first eight major wins, including three Green Jackets, and also enjoyed Augusta success with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Harmon has retired from the grind of Tour life, but still teaches from his Las Vegas base.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood is now a client and on Wednesday McIlroy’s management confirmed to Telegraph Sport that he, too, had tapped into all that experience, making the 2,000-mile trip to Harmon’s academy two weeks ago.

It is not the first time he has consulted Harmon. In the midst of one of his mini-slumps in 2021, he sought the expertise of the guru whose father, Claude, won the Masters 76 years ago.

“The one thing I love about Butch is he’s worked with so many players,” McIlroy said. “So, if you’re trying to explain to him, ‘Look, I’m trying to do this or I’m trying to create that feeling’, the database of players that he’s worked with over the years, he could say, ‘Well, Freddie Couples felt this, or Tiger did this, or DJ felt that’. It’s always nice to have that reference.”

McIlroy has confessed to being in a quandary regarding his “feelings” with his clubs and it comes down to what certain experts insist is the age-old paradox of his swing.

Without doubt, he is one of golf’s great drivers, but from 150 yards in, the failings have recently been all too apparent. He leads the ‘Total Driving’ statistics on the PGA Tour this campaign, but on the ‘Strokes Gained – Approach Play’ charts he is 119th.

Back swing


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