For Rory McIlroy the missing piece of the jigsaw has been his putting. We take a look at how Rory McIlroy has transformed his putting to win the Deutsche Bank Championship
For the last few months the problem has been painfully clear. Hitting the ball as well as any of the top players, Rory McIlroy was being let down consistently by his putter. Heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship he was ranked 1st in strokes gained driving and 130th in strokes gain putting. The disparity in performance between the longest and shortest clubs in his bag was stark. After he missed the cut at the USPGA Championship, it was obvious that something had to be done. Here we take a look at how Rory McIlroy has transformed his putting…
McIlroy’s first port of call was to enlist the help of putter designer Scotty Cameron. Nike’s decision not to continue making golf clubs enabled the Northern Irishman to look further afield. His decision was to turn to Cameron, the man responsible for the putter he used before switching from Titleist to Nike at the beginning of 2013. He opted for a Scotty Cameron Concept M1 prototype putter. In itself this represents a significant departure for McIlroy who has always leaned towards the classic looking, heel-and-toe, Anser style putter. The new putter is a compact mallet design that will provide more alignment help. It is also likely to be a higher MOI design – the larger head allows more weight to be moved to the perimeter to improve resistance to twisting. He told PGATour.com, “I feel like with the putter change to a mallet, it doesn’t encourage that face to close that much, which is the bad putt I was getting. So just sort of encourages the face to stay a little more square through impact.” There is little doubt that the new flatstick has had an immediate effect but that’s not the only thing that has changed.
Rory McIlroy has started working with Phil Kenyon, the owner of the Harold Swash Putting School of Excellence. Kenyon is a regular face on Tour and has coached a long list of top players including Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.
Ahead of his Deutsche Bank Championship win, Rory McIlroy told PGATour.com, “We’ll see how it goes and work hard at it and hopefully I start to see little improvements each and every week.”
“If I can be really comfortable with my putting going to Augusta next April, that’s my timeline,” McIlroy said. “So that’s a seven- or eight-month period where I can sort of try to get it right.”
Thankfully for the Northern Irishman and those supporting team Europe at the Ryder Cup next month, he didn’t need to wait that long. At TPC Boston he led the field in putts per green in regulation. His final round 65, was a blistering performance and perhaps the first time this season when his putter has matched the brilliance of his driver. Again, he told PGATour.com, “I tweaked my putting grip on Saturday morning and holed some putts on Saturday. I went with it and got some momentum.”
There is little doubt that ahead of the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, Rory McIlroy was struggling with his putting. The changes themselves seem to have had both a physical and mental affect, combining to explain how Rory McIlroy has transformed his putting. If he can retain his confidence in the new approach, he will be a red-hot favourite to win the Fed Ex Cup and pocket the $10 million bonus prize.