Rory McIlroy vs Jordan Spieth Swing Sequence Analysis

Between Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, current world ranking number 1 and 2 respectively, who is a better player? Despite their dominance in the modern era, they take two very different approaches to how the game is played. When Rory is at his best he wins with power, athleticism and an all out aggressiveness with a lack of fear that reminds us of Tiger circa 2000. Meanwhile when you watch Jordan play he appears to be the card counter at the blackjack table, he is an amazingly well rounded and consistent performer with a beautiful touch around the greens.

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When we look at the numbers in terms of strokes gained Rory and Jordan Rank number one and two with very little between them, however when we look into those numbers its clear to see Rory’s long game is the stronger of the two. Rory is Ranked number 1 in strokes gained tee to green averaging two strokes per round. Rory is ranked 9th in terms of driving distance and 25th in driving accuracy, where as Jordan is more than 10 yards behind him with driving distance (T72) and less accurate (T80). Around the greens however Jordan gets his own back Jordan ranks 86 places above Rory in scrambling (5th) and 40 places above him in putting (T21). As we begin to look at their swing sequence we can see some of these obvious differences:

ADDRESS POSITION

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Looking at the players in the address position it is pretty clear from the outset that there will be dramatic differences in how they strike the ball. When we look at Rory McIlroy’s swing on the left we can see a very wide and powerful stance with a significant amount or right side bend. Rory uses this address position to help him hit up on the ball and maximise efficiency and power at impact. Rory’s attack angle to the ball is generally somewhere between 2 degrees and 5 degrees up helping him carry the ball consistently over 300 yards. As you look to Jordan Spieth’s swing on the right hand side we see a much more neutral and “stacked” position. Shoulders and hips are more level and he is not as wide as Rory in terms of stance width. This kind of set up with the driver will generally produce a slightly steeper attack angle than his counterpart, and also probably not as much distance.

THE FIRST MOVE

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As both players begin to take the club away and hinge the club, you will notice that Rory “sets” the club a little higher than Jordan. From that position he can really coil into his right hip and create a huge stretch between his upper and lower body which is where his power comes from. Jordan on the other hand looks a little more relaxed and free but still keeps his arms at full stretch while turning his shoulders.

TOP OF THE BACKSWING

As we reach the top of the backswing the difference in styles becomes far more apparent. Looking at Rory we can see he creates a huge amount of torque between his lower and upper body. He maintains exceptional width with his lead arm and is ready to unleash all his energy onto the ball. Jordan’s positioning at the top has a very different look to it, you will notice the left arm is in an unusual position where he has almost no tension in it and the elbow has a significant bend. There is a much smaller stretch between lower and upper body which is often a sign of an accurate and consistent striker of the golf ball.

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