Ripped Rory McIlroy laughs off claims big build like Tiger Woods will see him lose his way
Rory McIlroy has hit back at critics in the US who have said he could be jeopardising his golf career by pumping iron.
On NBC's Sports Conference Call, Brandel Chamblee from the Golf Channel expressed concern that the Co Down major winner is spending too much time lifting heavy weights in the gym.
He thinks McIlroy is following in Tiger Woods' footsteps and that the use of heavy weights could damage his career.
But the 26-year-old world number three dismissed the idea he is risking his future by posting a video of himself on Twitter squatting 265lbs, three times, before saying: "I'm a golfer, not bodybuilder".
The results of McIlroy's intensive workouts are clear for all to see when he's photographed on the golf course or out and about with his other half, Erica Stoll, looking more muscular than in previous years.
Chamblee drew comparisons between McIlroy and his childhood hero and Nike counterpart Tiger Woods.
"I say it with a lot of trepidation, because it's a different era for sure and I don't know the full extent of what he's doing, but when I see the things he's doing in the gym, I think of what happened to Tiger Woods," Chamblee said.
"And I think more than anything of what Tiger Woods did early in his career with his game was just an example of how good a human being can be, what he did towards the middle and end of his career is an example to be wary of.
"That's just my opinion.
"And it does give me a little concern when I see the extensive weightlifting that Rory is doing in the gym."
McIlroy clearly does not agree with Chamblee's assessment and has previously said his physical fitness makes him a better, stronger and more energetic player.
His response to Chamblee was to post some footage of himself working out on the internet.
"Re the squats, it was the last set of 3x3 at 120kg (265lbs). Did 3x10 at 100kg (225lbs) before that," he wrote on Twitter.
"I'm 165lbs. I'm a golfer, not bodybuilder."
Golf legend Gary Player weighed into the debate to defend and support the Holywood native, telling him to, "keep squatting. Keep lifting. Keep working out..."
Player wrote on Twitter: "@McIlroyRory @GolfChannel @chambleebrandel Haha, too funny. Don't worry about the naysayers, mate. They all said I would be done at 30, too."
McIlroy welcomed the comment, thanking Player for his contribution and advising him he was following his "fine example".
And at a Press conference, McIlroy had a humorous reply when one reporter asked him if he had done any squats that day.
"No, not yet, but I might do later, maybe with Brandel on my back," the sportsman said.
McIlroy is making time for weights as part of his hectic schedule. Ahead of the Masters in April, he is in action at the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club on the outskirts of Los Angeles.