DORAL, Fla. – Rory McIlroy is shaking up his putting technique by going to a cross-handed grip for the Cadillac Championship, and he plans to stick with it.
McIlroy posted a video on Instagram that showed him putting with the left hand low, and then he confirmed Wednesday in his news conference that it was worth a try. He said he typically practices that way to make sure he keeps the right hand from influencing the putting stroke.
“It’s a drill that I’ve always done,” he said. “And I’ve putted a lot just with my left hand. It’s one of those things where the drill started to feel a little bit better than the real thing, so I’m just going to stick with it.”
The catalyst for change was the Honda Classic, where McIlroy missed the cut with rounds of 72-72.
He said there were a couple of putts in the second round that he knew he was going to miss before he even made contact because his right hand was too active.
“So it was, ‘I need to do something here,'” he said. “I was sort of playing around with a few different grips on the putting green over the weekend. This one felt more natural to me because I’ve done it before and I do it quite a lot when I’m just practicing in drills. I thought, ‘Why not give it a go?'”
McIlroy plays the opening two rounds at Trump National Doral with Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, the two players ahead of him in the world ranking. Spieth also putts with his left hand low, and he is regarded among the best medium-length putters in golf.
McIlroy said he used the cross-handed grip at times during his rookie year on the European Tour in 2008. Since then, he has won 18 times around the world, including four majors. The Masters is just over a month away, the one major McIlroy needs to complete the career Grand Slam.
It sounded as though he would be taking that grip to Augusta National.
“I feel like it’s something I’m going to stick with regardless of what the outcome is tomorrow or this week or next week,” he said. “I really do feel like it helps me put a stroke on it that I want to. It’s a great feeling. I feel like it gives my putting stroke a bit more of a better rhythm, as well, a better flow. Look, if it doesn’t work right from the get-go tomorrow, you’re not going to see me on Friday morning putting conventional again. It’s something I’m going to stick with for a while.”