Few journalists do obsessive attention to detail quite like Irish Golf Desk’s Brian Keogh, and this week he’s managed to uncover an interesting story hidden in the most inconspicuous of places: Rory McIlroy’s putting routine. Though McIlroy and his new short-game coach, Dave Stockton, have been anxious to avoid talking about the technical aspects of their collaboration, it appears that the pair’s overhaul of the youngster’s brittle putting stroke has begun with an ambitious attempt to reset years of muscle memory.
For years McIlroy has used a slightly unorthodox putting grip, wrapping the middle, ring and little fingers of his right hand around the thumb of his left [pictured below]. In recent weeks, that grip has found itself replaced by a more orthodox reverse overlap [pictured above].
Orthodoxy isn’t necessarily valuable in and of itself, and quite how this change dovetails with Stockton’s expressed desire to improve McIlroy’s short-range putting isn’t clear:
“We’ve mostly worked on routine and how to approach a putt, nothing really technical… It’s just about trying to free up a little bit the putts under 10 feet.”
With the field this week set to face pristine surfaces rolling in excess of 12 on the stimpmeter, McIlroy’s putting stats should offer a candid reflection of his progress under the new regime.