Rory McIlroy thinks these 2 words — when he absolutely needs a good drive

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot last week at the Dubai Desert Classic.

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Rory McIlroy hit his drive 338 yards. His opponent in this friendly driving competition, YouTube sensation Micah Morris, hit 311. Their finish line was first to a mile, or 1,760 yards. 

McIlroy hit his second drive 343, Morris hit 332. 

McIlroy hit his third 338, Morris hit 368. 

McIlroy hit his fourth 342, Morris hit 353. At this point, the scoreboard read this way: Morris 1,364 yards, McIlroy 1,363. But the leader was curious. He promised he wasn’t trying to be distracting. But the pressure was rising in this game, so he wondered: 

“What is your thought process when it comes to, OK, you have to hit a good shot?” 

They were talking on a YouTube video published this week to Morris’ channel,  and you can — and should — watch the 20-plus-minute post here. And the question was asked to a player who’s won 24 times on the PGA Tour and 10 times internationally, including last week, at the Dubai Desert Classic. His resume is good. 

His answer was just two words. A phrase he says to himself. 

Here was the complete exchange, started by Morris:

“So real quick, I just want to ask you a question. Not to try to distract you, but in this moment — this is nowhere near the final round of a tournament — what is your thought process when it comes to, OK, you have to hit a good shot.” 

“Just full commitment,” McIlroy said on the video. 

Rory McIlroy
How does Rory McIlroy create speed? He credits this exercise and this thought
By: Nick Piastowski

“I feel like when I don’t hit a good drive is when I guide it or I try to hit a fairway. It’s full commitment. Just fully see your shot and just like almost swing harder at it. Not swing harder at it, but just full, full, full commitment.”

Said Morris: “I love that.”

From there, McIlroy hit his fifth shot 340 yards into the fairway. 

But Morris followed with a 344-yard poke. And he won the competition on the last swing, hitting one 360 yards, to McIlroy’s 348-yard poke.  

Editor’s note: On Jan. 25, published a second article featuring McIlroy and Morris. You can read that story by clicking here, or by scrolling down. 


Rory McIlroy, as part of a friendly driving competition, hit one deep. And another. And another. All into the fairway. All with good ball speed. His opponent, YouTube sensation Micah Morris, was impressed. And curious. 

He noted that neither of them were tall. McIlroy, according to the PGA Tour’s website, is 5-feet, 10-inches tall. As he stood next to him, Morris looked to be around the same height. So he started to wonder:

Had McIlroy always been fast? 

He said he hadn’t. Maybe above average. But over the past few years, he had sped up. 

McIlroy then explained this:


McIlroy and Morris were talking on a YouTube video published this week to Morris’ channel,  and you can — and should — watch the 20-plus-minute post here. On it, Morris notably was the first to drive a mile in drives in a contest versus McIlroy; Morris is a serious stick. And notable, too, was the speed dissection. 

McIlroy emphasized two points:

— His work in the gym, and he specifically thanked an exercise with a medicine ball. He loads onto his left foot, then his right, then plants and throws, accentuating the muscles used in generating speed through the ground. 

— His work with his swing, and he specifically thanked one thought that featured his right hip. He wants his right pocket to get “through” as quickly as possible.  

For clarity, here is McIlroy and Morris’ complete exchange, which starts just after the 9-minute mark and is started by McIlroy:

“To me, I do like — I mean, I do quite a bit of stuff in the gym to just try to create power. So one of the things I do like with the medicine ball is I’ll load into my front foot first and then back foot and I’ll plant and then throw a medicine ball. And it’s almost like I try to recreate that feeling in my golf swing if I’m really going after one. A little bit like Kyle Berkshire. It’s like the [motions] and then, so …”

Said Morris: “But it’s trying to use ground forces.” 

Said McIlroy: “It’s all just trying to use the ground.” 

Said Morris: “Because that’s what I’ve learned is ground forces, it’s everything. Like the harder I can push up, the quicker I can …”

Said McIlroy: “Exactly. And then to me, I feel like it sort of comes — I guess they’re both one in the same, but when I get this way, I just feel like I try to get my right hip or my right pocket through as quickly as possible. So like when you see a baseball [player] and they just — their separation is so, it’s so quick.” 

After the back-and-forth on the video, Morris was also curious about the times that McIlroy struggles with the driver. The four-time major winner admitted the club occasionally gets “stuck” behind him.

His focus there is another thought: 

Ideally, then, he said he wants his left arm and club to line up. Again for clarity, here is the complete exchange, started by Morris:

“And when you’re struggling and not hitting the driver as well, is it getting stuck behind you?” 

McIlroy said it does. 

Said Morris: “Because I’ve heard you talk so much about getting the club out in front, are you feeling that ‘widening?’”

Said McIlroy: “I’m feeling more — so to me, when I get it to the top sometimes, I feel like — you know like a hockey player will hit a slap shot and you stabilize the face, but you sort of — like that’s how I feel like I hit my driver sometimes. So if I tee it up off of my front foot, I just feel like I turn behind it and then I just turn that way and just try to get — like feel like my left arm and my club are one thing at impact.”

Editor’s note: To watch the complete video, please click here. Or scroll down. 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at