How Rory McIlroy Turned His Putting Around

The four-time major winner looks a different man on the greens in 2018 compared to the last few seasons

How Rory McIlroy Turned His Putting Around
Rory McIlroy celebrates at Arnold Palmer Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The four-time major winner looks a different man on the greens in 2018 compared to the last few seasons

How Rory McIlroy Turned His Putting Around

Rory McIlroy is without a major championship victory since 2014 and there's been one thing letting him down in the years since - putting.

The Northern-Irishman looks to complete the grand slam this week at The Masters and is heavily fancied having looked an entirely different man on the greens in recent weeks.

So how did Rory McIlroy turn his putting around?

Well, having missed the cut at the Valspar Championship in March, McIlroy was a lowly 124th in the PGA Tour's Strokes Gained: Putting statistics, having ranked 140th in 2017.

On the Monday after the Valspar, McIlroy met Brad Faxon for some help on the greens. Faxon, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, is considered one of the best putters in recent history.

Faxon, who is now a PGA Tour Champions player as well as a Fox Sports analyst, also helped Gary Woodland earlier this season prior to his Waste Manegement Phoenix Open victory.

McIlroy has been working with putting guru Phil Kenyon for the last two years but it's unsure if the pair remain together.

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Faxon's philosophy - confidence. He once said, "My only secret is confidence... I just try to hit every putt as if I've just made a million in a row."

Faxon offered McIlroy mental advice, trying to install confidence into a man lacking belief on the greens, having seen far too many birdie opportunities spurned in seasons gone by.

As well as confidence, he also advised the 28-year-old to put in a longer putter - 34 1/2 inches instead of the 33 inch model he currently had in play.

McIlroy left his mallet putter out of the bag and instead opted for a new TaylorMade TP Copper Soto bladed putter and the results at in his next event - the Arnold Palmer Invitational - were phenomenal.

Rory won the tournament, his first victory since September 2016, and had the best putting week of his career.

Rory McIlroy holes the winning putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

He recorded a Strokes Gained: Putting total of +10 which was the best of his career and a huge nine strokes better than the field average.

In total he took just 100 putts over the four days for his lowest ever total on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy is back inside the world's top 10 and looks a complete player once again.

You can never doubt his ball striking ability and when you couple that with imperious putting you create a serial winner.

Can Faxon's input inspire Rory McIlroy to finally win a Green Jacket this week and complete the career grand slam? Only time will tell, but he'll be feeling very good about his chances.

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x