(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy is trying to replicate his swing from almost a decade ago, he said on Thursday after a six-under-par 64 in the first round at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open after a first round 80 in windswept conditions at Shinnecock Hills, a performance that jolted him into spending the weekend working diligently on the practice tee.
The signs were positive at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, where he hit the first 17 greens in regulation, before missing the putting surface with his approach shot at the last for his only bogey.
There will be tougher tests ahead, but it was a promising start nonetheless, one that left the Northern Irishman a stroke behind American leaders Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson.
“I’m trying to get back to the way I swung in 2010, 2011 and it’s sort of hard because my body’s changed quite a bit since then,” the 29-year-old, whose muscular frame now is a far cry from the scrawny teenager of days gone by, told reporters.
“The feeling I have now is the feeling I had in the middle of 2009.
“That’s basically what I did over the weekend. I got a feeling that really resonated and brought me back to a time when I was swinging really well, and sort of went with that feeling.
“I felt good out there today, pretty comfortable with the changes I’ve been making and hit some good shots.”
David Duval, a fellow former world number one, said ‘the sky’s the limit again’ for McIlroy if he can find his old swing, but added it was not yet quite where he needs to be.
“Technically his swing is very close to what it was but it’s not quite the same,” 2001 British Open champion Duval said on Golf Channel, where he works as an analyst.
McIlroy looked like being the premier player of his generation when he collected four major titles by the end of 2014, but has not added to his haul in the past 14 majors.
His next chance will be at the July 19-22 British Open at Carnoustie.
Reporting by Andrew Both