Rory on rivalries, fitness and out-benching Tiger


Wells Fargo champion and No. 1 player in the world Rory McIlroy joined the Dan Patrick Show on Monday morning and inadvertently dropped two potential ideas about growing golf that didn't feel hackneyed or forced.

After Patrick juxtaposed McIlroy's level of fitness with the perceived history of golfers as unathletic, McIlroy answered: 

“I think golf has progressed a lot and it has become more of an athletic sports. You look at some of the moves guys make at the ball nowadays, and you need to be strong in certain areas. You don’t need to be built like a linebacker, but you need to have stability and strength in certain areas in your body.

"And, of course, if more golfers look athletic, it portrays a much better image for the game, and that maybe encourages kids to pick up the sport or pick up a club. Maybe it encourages their parents to get into golf as well, because maybe 15-20 years ago the image of golf wasn’t athletic. It wasn’t what it is now. And Tiger has changed that. You look at some of the younger guys who are out now on Tour and I think that’s a great thing for golf.”

Beyond working out or hitting the ball 330 yards, McIlroy also addressed the motivation he found in Jordan Spieth's Masters win and subsequent appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. 

Patrick went on to suggest that a rival, like Spieth, could force McIlroy to work harder to keep his spot as world No. 1. 

"I definitely agree," he answered. "You look at some of the sports and rivalries, I'm thinking individual sports like tennis, Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal], they made each other better. ... Even Phil made Tiger better. As I said, it inspired me to see Jordan do what he did at Augusta. It inspired me to have a little edge, and a little more intensity. ...

"If you look at what Rickie [Fowler] did at The Players, as well, there's a lot of young guys that can go ahead now and take control of big golf tournaments, and again, that can only be good for golf."

McIlroy otherwise addressed the last time he paid for a beer, if he's any good at anything other than golf (soccer, for example), and who could bench press more: himself or Tiger?

"Tiger, I think" he said. "Yeah, yeah, Tiger. ... I've probably got shorter arms, so I don't have to move the bar as far as he does."