DUBLIN, OHIO | Two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open using the left-hand-low putting style he switched to earlier this year.
This week – two weeks before the U.S. Open – McIlroy reverted to a conventional grip at the Memorial and says it will be how he putts going forward.
“127 putts for the week at the Irish Open,” McIlroy said. “I had 32 putts on Saturday and 31 putts on Sunday. Any other week, you’re not going to be doing too well. I had a really good ballstriking week.”
So why change now, having just won and with Oakmont’s famously dangerous greens looming on the horizon?
“I feel like my pace was a little off left-hand-low and I feel coming into golf courses like (Muirfield Village) where the greens are really quick and obviously Oakmont where the greens are ridiculously fast, I felt like to give myself the best chance of having a little more feel and a little bit more visualization and stuff, I just needed to go back to what I’ve done most of my career,” he said.
McIlroy made six birdies Thursday, shooting 1-under par 71 in the opening round of the Memorial, but putting has been a persistent problem for him. McIlroy ranks 176th in total putting on Tour and 190th in three-putt avoidance. Inside 10 feet, McIlroy ranks 183th.
So there’s no chance of changing back to left-hand-low again?
“I don’t think so,” McIlroy said. “I’ve given left-hand-low a go. I’ve won a tournament with it. I’m moving on.”