• The Masters

McIlroy warns against overtraining

ESPN staff
April 8, 2014
Rory McIlroy: "It's not about being able to squat 450 times; it's about getting the ball in the hole" © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has hinted that Tiger Woods - out of this week's Masters with a back injury - may be pushing himself too far with his demanding exercise regime.

The Northern Irishman did not link the injury to Woods, who had back surgery last week to repair a pinched nerve, to his training but his comments are set to provoke debate about how the world No.1 may be treading a "fine line" in his approach to fitness.

"I set a personal best at a squat a couple of weeks ago and was so happy with myself" McIlroy said. "Does that really make me a better golfer?

"Maybe not. It is just something that people get into and have as a hobby. Tiger has obviously taken that to a new level in golf where he didn't just want to be the best golfer in the world, he wanted to be an incredible athlete.

"He wanted to train with Navy Seals, he took it to a whole new level because that is his personality, that's the way he is.

"But there is a fine line... if you don't have that then you don't have the ability to go out and win tournaments, which at the end of the day is your ultimate goal. It is not about being able to squat 450 times; it is about getting the ball in the hole."

Two-time major winner McIlroy admits his partner, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, had to remind him he is a golfer and about the dangers of overtraining.

"There definitely has to be a balance," he said. "It is easy to get into this thought process that you want to be an athlete and you want to train like an athlete, you want to push your body to limits. But you're a golfer.

"I came across CrossFit on YouTube and the guy who wins is Rich Froning. He's an absolute animal, a beast and has been hailed as the fittest man on earth for the past three years.

"I was chatting with Caroline and saying 'I would love to get into that in the off-season for all the endurance and strength and everything'. She just said, 'You're a golfer'. And I was like 'Oh yeah...' It sort of hit me. I am a golfer first and foremost."

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