Rory McIlroy said in March that he was changing to the left-hand-low, or cross-handed, putting grip, and that he was going to stick with it.
Well, he stuck with it for 3 months before deciding to go back to a traditional stroke this week at the Memorial Tournament.
McIlroy had made the change ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. However, after he racked up his first win of 2016 in his last start at the Irish Open, McIlroy realized the stroke wasn't doing his game any favors.
“I had 127 putts the week that I won the Irish Open,” McIlroy said Thursday. “So it's not as if I putted particularly well that week. I won that golf tournament with my ball striking alone."
"I just felt like it was time to – you know, I thought about it for a while, and I was messing around on the putting green over the weekend," he said. "Just went back to the grip and really trying to focus on the basics like setup and eye position and ball position and stuff like that, alignment.”
McIlroy has always been a streaky putter, working with guru and multi-time major champion Dave Stockton in recent years to find, then lose, then find again his stroke.
Like a lot of golfers who try to switch to the cross-handed grip, McIlroy had trouble keeping a consistent pace to his putts. Pace problems wouldn't play well at Muirfield Village, and they certainly wouldn't go well on the lightning-fast greens in two weeks at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, outside of Pittsburgh.
“I feel like my pace was a little off left-hand low," he said, "and I feel like coming into golf courses like here where the greens are really quick, and obviously Oakmont, where the greens were ridiculously fast, I felt like to give myself the best chance of having a little bit more feel and a little bit more visualization and stuff, I just needed go back to what I've done for most of my career.”
JOIN GNN PLUS AS AN ANNUAL MEMBER & YOU'LL GET:
- A FREE USGA handicap ($30 value, annual members only)
- Entry into member-only giveaways
- Special discounts and member benefits
- An ad-free experience
- Equipment testing data
- Exclusive fantasy golf and betting research