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Golf: McIlroy’s Putting Resurrection

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks,” writes Tim Rosaforte.

The putting savant
Many honourable mentions have been made about Brad Faxon’s putting ability but I do believe it’s the first time I’ve heard the expression “putting savant”.

Tim writes, “The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week,” and later on writes, “The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.”

So who’s Phil Kenyon?

Tim writes “Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind” however the reference to Phil Kenyon got me interested because he’s the guy who may perhaps be guilty of getting McIlroy thinking too much about is putting technique and not putting touch.

Dateline 20 September 2016 and James Corrigan writes, “For McIlroy, it was obvious whom he should seek out. After missing the cut at the US PGA at Baltusrol, with a greens “disaster-class”, which he termed “pathetic” and which summed up his miserable putting summer, McIlroy made the call. After ending his long relationship with Dave Stockton, the former US Ryder Cup captain, McIlroy’s initial intention was simply to have his stroke analysed in Kenyon’s state-of the art Southport studio.”

McIlroy was enthralled by the science
James Corrigan writes, “We (Phil Kenyon and his team) have this platform on which we can adjust the slope like it’s a hydraulic green,” Kenyon explained. “We use SAM PuttLab, which measures how the putts move through ultrasound. We have high-speed cameras that film the body and the roll of the balls. We use a 3D system that measures all the angular, rotations and displacements of the body. We can adjust the green, and see how players hit left-to-right putts, right-to-left, uphill downhill – all of that.”

McIlroy was enthralled by the science, as well as by Kenyon. “It was supposed to be one session, just to see where I was,” McIlroy said. “But we gelled well, so it was an easy decision after that.”

Link to Tim Rosaforte and James Corrigan

Quote of the Day

“Putting is a game within a game, isn’t it?” – Phil Kenyon


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