Rory McIlroy has almost always been a streaky putter, but the pendulum has swung the wrong way many times this year. In fact, his putting was so bad at the PGA Championship that he knew some kind of change had to be made.
In the two weeks after the season's final major, McIlroy made two changes: correcting the path of his putting stroke and finding a new putter.
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Let's start with the latter, as McIlroy chose to put into play a Scotty Cameron mallet prototype putter for The Barclays. However, that's largely a decision made after Nike Golf announced it would be getting out of making golf clubs, balls and bags.
The other things McIlroy has worked on since Baltusrol is improving his putting stroke.
"Big thing has been the path," McIlroy said Wednesday at Bethpage Black. "I went down to (a) SAM PuttLab and (the) putt(er) face was left and path was left, but it was more to do with what my hands were doing, sort of going up and left. And obviously with working with (putting teacher) Dave (Stockton) over the last few years, it's very much left-hand leading, but the left hand was leading but it was going this way and left and up."
The Ulsterman explained the possible results with that kind of face-path combo.
"You could hit a pull if the face matches the path. You could cut it if the face is slightly open but going that way," he said. "It's like a two-way miss on the golf course: You're missing putts left, you're missing putts right, and you don't quite know why."
McIlroy noted that he has more work to do with the putter, but he's hoping that this first step will be an important one.
"The path is something that obviously if you can address it square and align it properly," he said. "If you can get that putter back to square at impact, then you've got the best chance of obviously starting it on line and it's just about giving it good speed and giving it good read."