For the last four days his ball striking has been imperious but why is Rory McIlroy missing so many putts? We take a look at some of the reasons behind the issue that's blighted his 2016 season so far

From tee-to-green Rory McIlory has been one of the best players on show at this Open Championship. Averaging around 65% of fairways and greens hit, driving the ball comfortably over 300 yards and setting up a plethora of makeable birdie opportunities, McIlroy gave himself a great chance of winning this Open from the wrong side of the draw. But things haven’t gone his way and the Northern Irishman has been left scratching his head – we are all asking why is Rory McIlroy missing so many putts, especially short ones?

Well, let’s start by saying what it isn’t. Rory is not suffering with the yips. The involuntary hand movement that sends the ball off in the wrong direction and that has affected so many over the years, is debilitating but this doesn’t seem to be Rory’s issue.

For the most part, McIlroy has missed his short putts to the right. This can be down to a couple of things. The first is looking up too soon. As the player is anxious to see where the ball has gone, he raises his head, the shoulders open and the putter cuts across the ball. In Rory’s case, this doesn’t seem to be the problem.

Short putting tips videos

The second reason for missing consistently right is a failure to release the putter head through impact. Just as with the main swing, the putting stroke needs flow. As the putter arcs on the inside on the way back, swings through to square and then moves inside on the way through (this is the natural putting swing path), it has the rhythm to deliver the blade square to the target. If you lose that flow and aren’t releasing the putter on the way through, you tend to push the ball out right.

In his attempt to be as precise as possible (he is lining the ball up meticulously with his start point), Rory seems to have lost the release in his stroke.

Jordan Spieth Putting Drill

In the next few days, ahead of the PGA Championship, one thing is for sure - Rory McIlroy will be trying very hard to resolve the issue. Ironically, it might just be that being less precise and finding a better flow could be the route to more birdies. If there is any justice, he will resolve it sooner rather than later. And in doing so, will surely start winning again and we can all stop asking why is Rory McIlroy missing so many putts!

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X