Rory McIlroy admits that a 10-day video archive and practice session with coach Michael Bannon has convinced him he can get back to swinging the club like he did at 16.
The Holywood star (29) struggled with a two-way miss in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship in St Louis.
But after skipping the first FedEx Cup Playoff event last week off to spend quality time with Bannon in Florida, the Co Down man believes he’s taken a giant step towards getting back into his teenage groove.
"We worked at a few things, looking back at old video to when I was 16 and what I have done well in my swing throughout the years and trying to get back to that, I guess," McIlroy said at TPC Boston, where he is trying to win the Dell Technologies Championship for the third time in seven years.
“I feel like I made quite a bit of progress last week. It is not as if we are trying to reinvent the wheel, just go back to stuff that I've done before.”
It wasn’t just a 16-year old McIlroy on those old videos but when asked if he cringed when he watched his younger self, he grinned and said: “I was very impressed. If that was a 16-year-old in front of me today, I'd say, you're going to do pretty good.
“I guess when I was that age, the move I am trying to get back to was more exaggerated at that point — steepen the shaft very much on the way back and shallow it coming down.
“Now it is almost shallow going back and steep coming down. That's why I am getting the two-way miss left and right.”
After finishing second in The Open, McIlroy was disappointed to close with a 73 in Akron and share sixth when leading going into the final round, then finish tied 50th with an erratic swing display in the final major of the season at Bellerive.
Getting out of bad swing habits is hard work but he admits that watching the old footage has persuaded him that it’s possible to turn back the clock without having to go back to the drawing board completely.
“It was a good thing for me because I have been sort of fighting with Michael on this for a while,” he said. “It made me realise I can do this again.
“It was good to see that video and even just watching it, you start to feel the feelings you might need to get back into those positions.
"So it was a beneficial week and Michael and I hadn't had more than four days in a row together away from a golf tournament since January.
"But for me, it was just getting too inconsistent, so I needed that ten-day window where I'd say for a seven-day period I didn't hit a golf ball without doing the drill that I'm going to do.
"It wasn't a full motion swing, it was just here, there, down (indicating.) So I did that for seven days just to try to ingrain the move. And I feel like I haven't had a period this year where I could do that. That was really the reason I needed to take that time off.”
It isn't easy for McIlroy to makes these adjustments, however, as he explained in Boston last night.
"No, it's not, because we hit so many golf balls doing one thing, anyway. I'm trying to get back to what I used to do. But what I used to do feels so foreign to me right now, because I've hit so many golf balls and ingrained the move I don't want to make.
"You need to feel like you're doing the opposite of what you've been doing and that's hard. Someone like Faldo in the late '80s, said -- whenever it was when he changed his swing, I don't care what I'm going to shoot, I'm just going to stick with this, I'm going to make this swing change, if it takes me three years, that's what it takes me.
"I can't do that. Mentally that would just be very challenging for me. So I just need these little breaks where I can work on my swing and work on my game going into important parts of the season, like we have now."
Tiger Woods also returns to action after his tie for 40th in the Northern Trust last week and McIlroy called on fans to be patient with the 14-time major winner despite his close calls in The Open and the US PGA.
“I think more than anyone else, he is surprised how quickly he has come back,” McIlroy said. “To think of where he is now compared to where he was just over a year ago, is incredible.
"I have been saying this and I have been consistent with this, everyone just needs to give him time. You are not going to be the same person or player after four back surgeries and everything he has dealt with.”