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May 29 2013

3:40 PM

McIlroy's putter decision

Rory McIlroy's old putter might bring him more confidence this week. (Finney/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

Rory McIlroy went back to an old friend last week at the European Tour's BMW Championship at Wentworth, replacing his Nike Method 006 prototype putter with a Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport GSS prototype — the same putter he used to win the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship by a combined 16 shots.

The putter switch didn't keep McIlroy from missing the cut, but based on the photos GolfWRX's Greg Moore took on Tuesday of McIlroy putting with the Cameron, it looks like the poor week in England wasn't enough to deter the two-time major winner from using it at the Memorial.

McIlroy opened the 2013 season with the Nike Method 006 prototype in the bag at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship before switching back to the Cameron for the second round of the event. Following his first start of the year, McIlroy went back to the Method and kept it in the bag until last week.

Most players tend to tinker with the putter more than any other club in the bag, and Rory McIlroy — even though he's only used two putters this season — is no different.

It's easy to assume Mcllroy switched because he was struggling with the putter, but if you look at the switch from a statistical perspective, his 2012 (with the Cameron putter) and 2013 (with the Nike putter) PGA TOUR putting stats are actually very similar.

He finished 2012 ranked 80th in strokes gained-putting and 61st in total putting; he's currently 100th in strokes gained-putting and 22nd in total putting at the midway point in the 2013 PGA TOUR season.

What do the stats tell us? Maybe the Nike putter isn't the problem. Even with four top-10 finishes in eight PGA TOUR starts this season, it's clear McIlroy's still trying to find a new level of confidence with his putter. Whether he finds it with his old Cameron remains to be seen.

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