What McIlroy had to say about working on his putting with Faxon

What McIlroy had to say about working on his putting with Faxon

Rory McIlroy spent Thursday evening working with putting coach Brad Faxon on the Bay Hill Club and Lodge practice green.

What they did helped, as McIlroy walked off the course leading the Arnold Palmer Invitational in strokes gained: putting in Round 2. He gained more than three shots on the field in that category on Friday, compared to losing more than three shots on Thursday.

He also led the field in SG: off the tee in Round 2. It was his iron and wedge play, however, that kept him from going lower than 2-under 70.

McIlroy lost shots to the field in both SG: approach to green and SG: around the green. Despite the unevenness, McIlroy is only six off the lead, at 1 under par, entering the weekend at the limited-player event.

The 2018 API champ spoke to the media after his round on Friday and here’s some of what he had to say about the work he’s doing on his putting:

Q. Was the putting an immediate effect of the work with Brad last night, and what did you guys work on?

RM: Yeah, I think so. I don't know what the stats look like, but definitely felt a little better out there. Didn't work on much. I mean, speed, I felt my speed was just a bit off more than anything. The greens look faster than what they are, so just trying to be a little more assertive with my speeds. Then, yeah, worked on a couple little things. I sort of sometimes with the mallet, because it is so much easier to start it on line, you get a little lazy. So, I brought the blade out last night just to hit a few putts to sort of get a feel of what I need to do to get the ball to the start on line with a real putter (laughing). Yeah, so worked a little bit on that. A little bit of sort of transition work from sort of back swing to through swing in the stroke. Yeah, it felt much better today.

Q. What are you looking for when you're doing that?

RM: Yeah, just starting the ball on line and just a good strike. Sometimes I can let the putter rise up a little bit too much on the way through, and then I can catch the ball sort of more on the equator, rather than like more of a level. Like, when I strike a good putt, it almost feels like the ball comes out of the top of the face instead of the middle of the face. So, yeah, focused a little bit on strike, a little bit on just that sort of transition. Yeah, felt better.

Q. Is there any checklist that you fall back on, on the putting green?

RM: Yeah, a little bit. Again, just keeping my right arm in position. It's all sort of right-sided stuff. Feel like my right shoulder sort of goes down in transition, sort of from back to through. Like, when it gets to the top of the back stroke, like my right shoulder feels like it goes down, which then keeps the putter low through impact. So, just a couple little things.

Q. Will you go out again and putt some more?

RM: Yeah, I'm sure I will.

Q. Has putting been the main difference between the results from Dubai and the last three or four weeks?

RM: Yeah, I think I've led the field in strokes gained off the tee at [Genesis] and at the Honda. Probably not too far away again this week. So, ball striking-wise, I feel really good. I feel like it's in — yeah, thankfully that's no issue. Yeah, it's just about just making a few more putts, and today I did that.