“I think Rory got caught up in something that he didn’t need to get caught up in.”
Butch Harmon has said that Rory Mcllroy was wrong to chase Bryson DeChambeau’s length off the tee and admits he was surprised to see him even attempt to do it.
Harmon was speaking ahead of The Masters, which takes place at Augusta National back in its usual calendar slot.
McIlroy’s last professional win came at the WGC-Champions HSBC back in November 2019.
Since the return from the enforced Covid-19 golf break, the world number 11 has largely struggled, with just five top 10s in almost a year of action.
The Northern Irishman has missed the cut in two of his last five events and recently parted company with Michael Bannon, his swing coach for 20 years, to begin working with Pete Cowen.
McIlroy himself has admitted that chasing DeChambeau’s length off the tee has had a major negative impact on his swing.
And Harmon was surprised to see the four-time Major winner get caught up in chasing longer distances.
Harmon on McIlroy & DeChambeau.
“I was a little bit surprised he said what he said about trying to catch Bryson distance-wise,” Harmon said.
“It seems to be a trend going around that some of the people are trying to achieve more distance because that seems to be the catchphrase lately.
“Though if you look at players like Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, these guys at the top of the world ranking, they are long hitters but they are not trying to jump out of their shoes.
“They are just trying to play their game and I think Rory finally realised that is what he needs to do.”
Tiger Woods’ former coach also urged McIlroy to “stop over-analysing” his game and wants the former world number 1 to get back to “playing gold”.
“I think Rory got caught up in something that he didn’t need to get caught up in,” Harmon continued.
“He needs to stop over-analysing and just get back to playing golf. He just needs to go back to the basic fundamentals, to what made him so good in the past.
“Chasing DeChambeau distance-wise was so wrong because he’s already one of the longest hitters in the game, a beautiful driver.
“I think that kind of got in his head and affected his golf swing. That hurt him, but if I know Pete he’s getting that out of there.”
McIlroy came to see the Sky Sports golf pundit, in the absence of his then-coach Bannon due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, and Harmon says he just needed “someone to point him in the right direction”.
“I think that Rory was in a lull, and he really missed Michael Bannon (his childhood coach) because he couldn’t come over to the States and work with him,” Harmon added.
“He needed someone to point him in the right direction. I think that’s why he came to see me, to get my opinion, and now he’s trying to get Pete’s opinion and to get his confidence back.
“It’s only going to take one really good round for Rory McIlroy to go out and start playing solidly again. All of a sudden the old Rory will come back, and his confidence will come back.
“Look at the way Jordan Spieth’s starting to play again, because he’s got is confidence back.”