Rory: Length no longer a priority
Rory McIlroy's driving has, generally speaking, been a thing of beauty and power. He's experimented with his version of going down the Bryson route and now he wants 2022 to be a year of more fairways rather than shorter clubs in from the rough.
"Fairways hit stats is always a big one for me. If I can hit the ball in the fairway 60 per cent of the time with how far that I hit it, I'm going to create a lot of opportunities for myself, and the more opportunities you give yourself, you know, the putts will some weeks fall. Some weeks they won't but I think over the last few years I've certainly become a more consistent putter and I certainly hole what I feel is my fair share," he explained this week in Abu Dhabi.
McIlroy hardly struggles for distance but he will be relying on getting the ball in play wherever possible, rather like Tiger in his pomp.
"Maybe (it will mean) throttling back and hitting 3-wood a little more often or hitting clubs that are maybe not as aggressive off tees and just putting yourself in the fairway. Maybe just being a little bit more of a measured and a controlled golfer. I'll certainly pick-and-choose my spots where I can take advantage of the driver and hit it, but the best player of the last 30 years, Tiger, he picked and chose where he hit driver, and he played a very, very controlled game. It didn't work out too badly for him."
McIlroy is a fan of writing down his goals for the year ahead, it used to be the case that he would write them on the back of a boarding pass though those days have long since gone, and, while he would love to win six times, something that he's never achieved, it is the accuracy off the tee that is the big one.
"I want to hit over 60 per cent of my fairways. I want my proximity inside 150 yards to be a certain number. I want my strokes gained putting to be a certain number. I think having goals that are more objective and more that I'm in control of, so I can't control if I win five or six times a year. There's so many other variables in there.
"I can control if my numbers, my strokes gained numbers, my stats are better than they were the year before. So it's about trying to set yourself goals that you can control, and that are objective and measurable, and I guess those are the sort of goals I've started to set myself the last few years."