Saturday, June 4, 2016

Going back to traditional style, McIlroy putting well at Memorial

Rory McIlroy was just going through a phase, and now it's over. 

The world No. 3 had been putting with a left-hand-low stroke, dating back to the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in March. He broke through for his first win of 2016 with the stroke at the Irish Open in his last start. And he's had his fill. 

“I had 127 putts the week that I won the Irish Open,” McIlroy said Thursday. “So it's not as if I putted particularly well that week. I won that golf tournament with my ball striking alone."

He's gone back to the traditional putting grip, and he's doing well with it so far at the Memorial Tournament. Five strokes of the lead heading into the weekend, McIlroy is at 7-under 137.

"I just felt like it was time to – you know, I thought about it for a while, and I was messing around on the putting green over the weekend," he said. "Just went back to the grip and really trying to focus on the basics like setup and eye position and ball position and stuff like that, alignment.”

Like a lot of golfers who try to switch to the cross-handed grip, McIlroy had trouble keeping a consistent pace to his putts. Pace problems wouldn't play well at Muirfield Village, and they certainly wouldn't go well on the lightning-fast greens in two weeks at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, outside of Pittsburgh.

“I feel like my pace was a little off left-hand low," he said, "and I feel like coming into golf courses like here where the greens are really quick, and obviously Oakmont, where the greens were ridiculously fast, I felt like to give myself the best chance of having a little bit more feel and a little bit more visualization and stuff, I just needed go back to what I've done for most of my career.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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