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PGA Tour Rumors: Rory McIlroy Turns to Magician Butch Harmon as Masters Horror Still Remains Alive

Published 04/02/2024, 10:10 PM EDT

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via Reuters

Rory McIlroy is gearing up to break his Masters curse. He has included more events in his calendar in the run-up to the Masters this year. Now, reports point out that the four-time Major winner has changed his team a bit. First reported by Matt Vincenzi of GolfWRX, McIlroy has sought the wisdom of legendary golf instructor Butch Harmon.

Nuclr Golf tweeted, “Rory McIlroy is reportedly working with legendary swing instructor Butch Harmon, per Kris Pursiainen.” Butch Harmon has worked with Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and of course, Tiger Woods, during his most dominant years.

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McIlroy will tee up at the Valero Texas Open this week. That will also be his last preparation before heading to Augusta. The Ulsterman, this year, started with two top-three finishes, including a silverware, in the DP World Tour. However, he has yet to replicate that success Stateside. After a T66 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, McIlroy has lurked around the top 20 in the last four tournaments. 

With his Strokes Gained (SG): Off the Tee (0.938) at its historical high, it’s mostly his iron game that has cost him dearly this season. Rory McIlroy ranks 119th in SG: Approach to Green, losing 0.176 shots compared to the field. It’s not that McIlroy wasn’t aware. Speaking before THE PLAYERS Championship, the Ulsterman said it’s as if he had two different swings with two different clubs. 

It’s hard because the longer clubs, the woods, feel so good but the irons don’t feel that good. I feel like I’m having to put two differing swings on the woods and the irons at the minute, which is a struggle.” This won’t be the first time for McIlroy to seek help from Harmon. In fact, the Northern Irishman earlier turned to a Golf Teachers Hall of Fame member in 2021 as well.

Rory McIlroy and his ‘Mastersplan’

In 2021, McIlroy consulted the veteran coach after a sudden slump in form. They spent around four and a half hours. Harmon later told Sky Sports,  “He came to see me because he just wanted to make sure he was on the right track.” The Northern Irish Pro said that Harmon’s vast depository of experience means no crisis was unique for the veteran. 

via Reuters

[I]f 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.’

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Interestingly, last year, Harmon in an interview with Sky Sports backed McIlroy’s bid for the elusive Green Jacket. Harmon said that the 24-time PGA Tour winner has matured enough to handle the pressure that comes with so much expectation for such a long period. ” This place is made for him. He is a beautiful driver of a golf ball and seems to be putting better after switching models,” Harmon had said at that time. Although the Ulsterman missed the cut at Augusta, he went on to impress in the other three Majors, picking a top 10 in each. 

This will be his 14th outing at Augusta National, his 10th attempt to complete the career Grand Slam. In 2011, Rory McIlroy came agonizingly close before a final-round mishap cost him the title. Notably, the Ulsterman took a trip to Augusta on Monday for a scouting trip. Golfweek also reported that the four-time Major winner plans to touch down Georgia on Tuesday and might skip the Par 3 contest as well.

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Frustrated Rory McIlroy Cautions Jay Monahan & Co With Stern 6-Word Advice; Calls LIV Golf Merger Delay a ‘Shame’

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

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Parnab Bhattacharya is a Beat Writer at EssentiallySports in the Golf Division. With four years of writing experience, he is now exploring his deep-rooted love for the gentleman’s sport. Parnab's area of expertise is his predictive and perspective pieces, where he explores all things golf, diving deep into the whys and whats behind players' and Tours' moves in the sport, and unflinchingly voicing his take.
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury

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