Rory McIlroy Putting Practice At The British Masters

Rory McIlroy has been undertaking some serious putting practice head of his eagerly anticipated appearance in the British Masters at Close House

Rory McIlroy has been undertaking some serious putting practice head of his eagerly anticipated appearance in the British Masters at Close House

Rory McIlroy’s late acceptance of an invite to the British Masters after missing out on the Tour Championship was great news both for the event and for British golf fans.

His appearance at Close House has created an added buzz and will undoubtedly pull a few more spectators through the turnstiles, all hoping to see Rory turn around what has been a pretty modest season by his own very high standards despite top-seven finishes in two of the Majors.

One thing he is clearly working hard on is his putting practice, and in particular those putts from around the eight- to nine-feet mark. Arriving on the putting green around lunchtime on Tuesday, Rory spent around 90 minutes working hard on putts from that range, as you will see in the accompanying video.

I overheard him say he was experimenting with a new putting grip that was a little different to the classic reverse overlap, and the coach he was working with seemed to really focus in on on Rory’s shoulder movement several times.

Looking at his putting stats in Europe, there is an interesting discrepancy between putts per round and putts per GIR, which might perhaps explain this particular focus. While he ranks a respectable 33rd for putts per round at 28.96 (nearly half a stroke better than last year and his best since 2010), he’s down in 97th for putts per GIR at 1.778 (his worst since 2010).

I’ve tried to work out what this might mean, and guess it could be that he’s just not converting enough of the good chances he’s creating when he does hit it in pretty close.

Indeed, the more in-depth PGA Tour putting stats show that that it is at the 8ft mark that his close-range putting first dips down to 50%, with Rory then ranking 135th for nine-footers at 41.38%.

Maybe this morning’s intensive practice session will see him turn around his fortunes from that range this week at Close House?

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response