Rory McIlroy's swing—a combination of perfect positions, tempo and balance—makes comparisons with the great Sam Snead inevitable. Meanwhile, McIlroy's surrounded by technique-addicted golfers who have been stack-and-tilted, golf-machined and one-planed to death. Rory (below) is dismissed as a natural by those who think that the swing should be more complicated. Teachers who preach a series of static positions over a fluid motion and scoff at the word fundamentals are the root of the problem. Until 30 years ago golf was taught by former Tour players who talked about grip and grip pressure, stance, posture, ball position, tempo, rhythm and the waggle. These are the fundamentals. Recently I read a blog by a teacher who said that I was reaching when I used the word fundamentals, to which I say he is reaching if he doesn't.
What makes Rory's swing perfect is not the positions he hits, but an approach that allows him to achieve those positions. His posture is relaxed and poised for athletic movement. By comparison, his fellow competitors look as if they are trying to achieve prescribed angles at address and straining to do so. Rory's grip is perfect, but the lack of tension is the best element, because it allows him to hinge the club perfectly and unhinge it properly.
Some will use his swing as a model and show their students the positions he gets in and make it a goal to copy the original, but the genius of Rory's swing is its simplicity. Simplicity that's born out of fundamentals, which sadly are considered antiquated in today's world.
Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year PGA Tour vet and Golf Channel analyst.