Rory McIlroy is often criticized -- and we could stop the sentence there, but... -- for how much muscle he has, the result of a training program that puts him in the gym with some intense workouts that do, in fact, include weight lifting. The critique is that being muscle-bound doesn't help with golf, and that the training is doing more harm than good to his, or any player's, body.
However, McIlroy claps back that it has been a tremendous help to him athletically and that it has, in fact, protected him from injury.
Now that we're halfway into 2017 and McIlroy is winless on the year, the critical voices have gotten louder that the Ulsterman's training routine is holding him back. One small problem with that line of thinking.
"Honestly, I haven't lifted a weight all year, and it's tough for me to come out and sort of say I don't," McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. "The most I've lifted in the gym is 15 pounds this year because of my injury."
In January in South Africa, McIlroy suffered a rib and back injury that kept him out until March. He then played into the Masters and returned from his wedding and honeymoon at The Players Championship, where he re-aggravated the injury such that it cost him a pair of warm-up starts leading into the US Open. He missed the cut at Erin Hills.
McIlroy somewhat laments not being able to lift weights, but it seems he has come away from the injury with a clearer view of what his training program really provides.
"I'm nowhere near as strong as I used to be. I'm not," he said. "But I don't need to be. I feel like physically if I'm stable and I'm strong in the right areas, I'm OK."