What happened to Rory McIlroy’s putting on the back nine at the Masters? Right after the tournament, he wasn’t able to tell the golf world what happened that day at the Masters and needed time to reflect on what happened. After the round, he did say his confidence waned on the back nice, especially with putting. When you second-guess your lines and your speed, confidence can erode quickly.
“You know I can’t really put my finger on it. I lost a lot of confidence in my putting around the turn. I didn’t really get anything going and was sort of second-guessing lines and second-guessing my speed, and on these greens you can’t do that,” explained McIlroy.
But he turned around his putting mindset and his game at the 2011 US Open where he putted great all week, making the short ones and having good touch on the greens, which I think is key to great putting.
McIlroy stated that he worked with Dave Stockton on his approach to putting and that helped him improve. They didn’t work on changing his stroke, but instead his green reading and putting routine, which means the mental game of putting. “The work that I’ve done with Dave Stockton has been more about how to approach a putt, not focusing on technique so much, more like green reading, your routine, and everything like that,” said McIlroy.
Stockton wanted to speed up his routine on the greens, not slow it down. “And people often said to me ‘we think you’re too quick on the greens’. But he thought the opposite. You’re taking too much time, why are you taking three practice strokes? Don’t take any practice strokes anymore. See the target, where I want to hit it, and just go with it.”
“If I have any sort of technical thing in my thought, in my stroke, it would just be to keep the back of my left hand going towards the target, and that’s all we really worked on. It seemed to work.”
The big take-away for me… You can’t second-guess yourself on the greens if you want to have confidence. And great putting is more about touch and your routine than mechanics.