Deutsche Bank ChampionshipSeptember 1, 2016

Rory McIlroy hires putting coach to help stanch the bleeding

NORTON, MA - AUGUST 31:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the practice green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald prior to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on August 31, 2016 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
US PGA TOURNORTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the practice green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald prior to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on August 31, 2016 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

NORTON, Mass. -- After missing the cut in two majors and enduring one of his worst seasons with his putter, Rory McIlroy has hired a putting coach, tapping Phil Kenyon to help fix what has historically been the weakest part of the former world No. 1’s game.   The two hooked up following McIlroy’s missed cut at the PGA Championship, and the 42-year-old Englishman’s present and past client list is long and star-studded -- currently Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen and previously Martin Kaymer, to name a few.   Not a bad way to go.   Stenson won his first major this year, Rose the gold medal at the Olympics and Westwood finished second at the Masters. Oosthuizen and Kaymer have both won majors.   “It's a work in progress,” McIlroy said Thursday from TPC Boston on the eve of the Deutsche Bank Championship. “Last week was a case of I was really concentrating too much on what I was trying to do with my technique rather than just trying to hole putts. So hopefully it can start to begin to feel a little more natural this week and moving forward.   “If I can be really comfortable with my putting going to Augusta next April, that's my timeline, so that's a seven‑ or eight‑month period where I can sort of try to get it right.”   This year, it has been mostly all wrong with the putter for McIlroy.

RELATED: Rory McIlroy struggles in first competitive round with new putter   The 27-year-old has a half-dozen top 10s in 15 starts on the PGA Tour but is without a win (though he did have a victory at the Irish Open). In many cases, putting has been the difference. McIlroy ranks 130th on tour in strokes gained/putting, losing .135 strokes to the field per round. Those are his lowest marks since 2011.   McIlroy said his biggest problem with the flat stick was that he was missing to the left, with the putter going up and to the left and his body trying to hold it off. That caused him to overcompensate on his reading of putts, too.   “It just wasn’t good,” he said. “So green reading's different, setup's different, aiming the putter's different.   “I feel like [Phil is] obviously the way to go for me right now and we'll see how it goes and work hard at it and hopefully I start to see little improvements each and every week.”


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