Mar 4th, 2016

Rory McIlroy changes putting grip

He's joined the left-hand-under dark side...

Rumours have been flying about that Rory is splitting with renowned putting coach Dave Stockton. One thing that definitely has happened is he's changed his putting grip. Rory's gone left hand under. When you look at his stats for this season, it's little wonder he's making changes...

Rory McIlroy changes putting grip

"I wonder what's on the telly tonight?... oh, hang on... focus Rors!"

Rory isn't in the Top 100 for any of the key putting statistics this season. Four tournaments in and he's missed two cuts. It simply isn't good enough for someone tipped to dominate the game Tiger-style. If Rory had the putting ability that Tiger had when he was dominating, Jordan, Jason, Rickie et all would not be able to get near him. His approach shots are dialed in like no one's business but he just can't get it done on the greens.

Looks at these stats after four tournaments in 2016:

CategoryRankStatistic
Strokes gained: putting189th-0.543
Putts per round169th29.71
Putting from 3 feet155th99.05 percent
Putting from 4 feet111st91.30 percent
Putting from 5 feet139th77.27 percent
Putting from 4-8 feet122nd66.67 percent
Putting from 20-25 feet158th7.69 percent
 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the golfing equivalent of a car crash. Here's what Rory says:

“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 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.”

Horrible feeling that – when you hit a shortish putt and you feel the pull on the stroke and the ball weedily trails of to the left... Brrrr... not worth thinking about... Anyway, Rory is in good company with the new grip. Jordan Spieth putts left hand under and he's ranked second in strokes gained on the greens this year.

But surely it's all in the mind. Look at Adam Scott. Not so long ago he was using the Zimmer frame long putter, convinced he could never go back to a proper short stick. Then the regulations came in, he had to ditch the Zimmer frame and look what happened - he wins the Honda Classic last week.

Rory McIlroy changes putting grip

Adam Scott on his way to winning the Honda Classic two weeks ago. With a proper putter...

“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.”

Rory McIlroy changes putting grip

Rory left-hand-under in Paris in 2008

 

Plus, this isn't actually the first time Rory has used this grip. In his debut year on tour he was lefty-undery, and can be seen in these pics from 2008 using both types of grips. Rickie Fowler does this also, uses both styles when playing. On long putts he uses the standard grip and then when he's in birdie range, say 30 feet and under, he uses left hand under. Whatever, Rory seems to be committed to the new approach.

“It's one of those things where the drill started to feel a little bit better than the real thing," said Rory. "So I'm just going to stick with it. 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 changes putting grip

Make your mind up, Rors: McIlroy flip-flopping his grip in Paris in 2008

In his first tournament round with the new grip, Rory shot a -1 round of 70 at the Blue Monster yesterday. All eyes on Rors this week...


Bernhard Langer overcame the yips by doing this

TAGS:Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Putting, Pitching, Chipping, Adam Scott