If there’s one part of Rory McIlroy’s sensational game that sometimes lets him down, it’s his putting. He’s ranked 189th in ‘strokes gained putting’ this year. The two players ahead of him in the world rankings, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, are ranked second and 18th respectively for the same statistic.
McIlroy’s 29.71 putts per round puts him 169th in that statistic. From four feet, he’s 111th. From five feet, 139th. From 20-25 feet, he’s 158th.
Rory’s woes with the putter have seen him four-putt on numerous occasions. They’ve seen him flounder down the leaderboard on weeks when the rest of his game was firing well enough to win. Last week, after a disappointing three-putt on the 18th at the Honda Classic, he slammed his putter into the concrete outside the scoring area. When our Twitter poll named Rory McIlroy as the fans’ favourite to win The Masters, several of you said he had no chance with his current form on the greens.
Even when we tried to stick up for Rory, some people were having none of it…
McIlroy compensates for his performance on the greens in every other area of his game. At times, his driving and iron play is untouchable. He’s ranked fifth in ‘strokes gained tee to green’ this year, safely ahead of Spieth (18th) and Day (90th). But he can’t continue to to give the field a three-shot head start over the course of a four-day tournament. He knows this better than anyone, which explains why he has been spotted experimenting with a new ‘left-below-right’ putting grip.
He posted this video on Instagram earlier:
“I felt like over the past few weeks, my right hand was becoming a little bit too dominant,” says McIlroy. “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. “So it was, ‘I need to do something here’.”
“I practised over the weekend with left below right and it felt really, really good,” added 26-year-old McIlroy. “I’m going to give it a try this week and see where we go with it.”
The left-below-right grip is far from the norm, but McIlroy is not the first to try it. Padraig Harrington does it. Thomas Bjorn does it. Jim Furyk does it. Rickie Fowler switches to it on short putts. And of course, the left-hand-low putting grip’s most famous proponent, the man causing amateurs the world over to experiment with it… world number one Jordan Spieth.
“Older guys on tour tell me that if they could go back and change one thing about their game, it’d be to learn how to putt cross-handed from the beginning,” Spieth told us.
McIlroy is planning to stick with it for the long haul. “I feel like it’s something I’m going to stick with regardles of what the outcome is tomorrow or this week or next week If it doesn’t work from the get-go, you’re not going to see me on Friday morning putting conventional again It’s something I’m going to stick with for a while.”
Want to try it yourself? Let Spieth show you how…