March 02, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- This season, Rory McIlroy ranks 190th in putting inside 10 feet and 189th in strokes gained: putting. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
DORAL, Fla. -- Frustrated with his putting last week at The Honda Classic, Rory McIlroy has decided to go change his putting grip to left-hand low.
The move is a significant one and comes on the eve of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship after the 26-year-old Northern Irishman missed the cut last week.
“I felt like over the past few weeks, my right hand was becoming a little bit too dominant,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I practiced over the weekend just with left below right and it felt really, really good. I'm going to give it a try this week and see where we go with it.”
In four starts this year, McIlroy has finished in the top 26 three times. Putting has held him back, though, and it has generally always been the most inconsistent part of his game.
Let's take a look at McIlroy's putting ranks this season (four starts):
|Strokes gained: putting||189th||-0.543|
|Putts per round||169th||29.71|
|Putting from 3 feet||155th||99.05 percent|
|Putting from 4 feet
|Putting from 5 feet
|Putting from 4-8 feet
|Putting from 20-25 feet||158th||7.69 percent
“I missed a couple of putts on Friday at Honda that I felt even before I made contact with the ball, that my right hand had (taken over) and I missed it left,” he said. “So it was, I need to do something here.
“Was sort of, you know, playing around with a few different grips on the putting green over the weekend. This one felt more natural to me because I've done it before and I do it quite a lot when I'm just practicing in drills, as well. I thought, why not give it a go.”
He’s hardly the only to go with the grip. Jordan Spieth putts left-hand low and is second in strokes gained: putting this year.
“The unknown is the difficulty,” said Adam Scott, who has changed putters and grips over the years, including at last year’s Presidents Cup, where he putted cross-handed for two days before abandoning the method. “I was feeling 100 percent confident but it didn’t translate at all.
“But I like the fact that (Rory) isn’t afraid to make a change. He’s not been afraid to make some big calls in his career.”
The change is a significant one but not entirely foreign to McIlroy. He used the unconventional grip his rookie year.
He’s also in it for the long haul.
“It's one of those things where the drill started to feel a little bit better than the real thing, so I'm just going to stick with it,” McIlroy said. “I feel like it's something I'm going to stick with regardless of what the outcome is tomorrow or this week or next week.”
Rory McIlroy settles for birdie at Cadillac Championship