Update: If turns out that Rory McIlroy will be out for some time, as he has suffered a stress fracture in his ribs… that is some stress he’s putting on his upper torso! /update
You may have heard about Rory McIlroy having tweaked his back during last week’s golf tournament in South Africa (the SA Open), but it’s not a lower back injury.
He reported it in his upper back and, since he’ll be having an MRI on the area today, I’m assuming it is soft-tissue (muscle) damage rather than a thoracic vertebra injury (because if that were true, he’d really be in some trouble), especially since he played through the weekend with it.
Here is the news from GolfDigest:
Despite an impressive 2017 debut at the South African Open — where he lost to Graeme Storm in a three-hole playoff — Rory McIlroy’s next appearance could be in doubt thanks to back pain. The four-time major winner tweaked his upper back Friday morning, pain significant enough that he almost pulled out of the event. McIlroy said he received treatment before and after each of the next three rounds.
McIlroy told reporters on Sunday that he’s scheduled to undergo an MRI scan Monday on his injured back.
I’m no doctor, obviously, nor do I play one on TV, but the major concern with modern golf swing injuries is in the lower back, so, just saying…
Now, what could have caused Rory to tweak his back in such a manner? Well, you could take a look at this post-impact position of Rory’s:
And you wouldn’t have to be Kreskin to see that he’s putting a huge amount of stress on his upper back and neck area through impact – in the gifs. below are two swings from the weekend.
Watch how far that head drops on the transition from the top, and how it snaps back and down through impact…ouch…
I’ve talked about how the proper MCS stance (and the one employed by the greats of swing during golf’s classic swing era) is one of a relaxed upper spine area, correct?
Now, look at how stiff Rory is in the entire back area at address, compared to the virtual “slouching” of the greats in that area:
If I were standing behind him and saw that, my first thought would be, “Dude, you’re about to swing a 13oz golf club, you’re not preparing to deadlift a bus…”
Too much time in the gym, and just way too much tension in that stance (he looks as though he’s trying to strangle that club), and then you’re going to swing at the ball at 120+ mph… not a good combination.
Here’s another look at that drop from the top and the head snap through impact:
There’s a reason the greats of the classic era didn’t all throw their backs out while swinging – they stood and swung properly, for the most part, and any swing flaws were just that – flaws, and not mechanically unsound moves or stances like the one above.
Rory would be well-served in getting a little more natural leverage into his swing and to stop launching himself at the ball in this manner – he’s a long driver, sure, but at what cost?
Rory has actually regressed in his mechanics – remember when I first posted about Rory’s floating heel, about a year and a half ago, and how it may have saved him from further injuring his back, after he had suffered back issues shortly after turning pro?
See how much more relaxed he looked in the back and shoulders area back then?
And that heaving leap at the ball – that tells me he’s not getting enough lift in that leading heel – you see it come up just a bit at the top of the back swing, but you can see that left knee from behind, there’s no “Swinging Gate” there.
So, with no swinging gate to close, you have no natural leverage, and have to create it – Rory’s method leaves a little to be desired, here. Unless, he’s trying to emulate his childhood hero, Tiger Woods…
The first rule of hitting it long is, “Don’t hurt yourself doing it,” or you’re doing something wrong, for sure…
Want to learn more about the MCS Golf Swing Theory? Try one of DJ’s “Secrets of the MCS” video shorts available via download.
Or you can download the very latest MCS Golf Swing video “MCS – Perfect Pivot“ based on the flawless pivot action of Ben Hogan.**
**”MCS – Perfect Pivot” is Part 3 of the “MCS Golf Swing Trilogy,” now available for download!