Rory McIlroy, three-time FedEx Cup champion, is fine-tuning his putting approach as he prepares for this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tenn.
McIlroy, world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm form an elite group that will play together in Rounds 1 and 2 at TPC Southwind beginning Thursday at 10:26 a.m. ET.
While Scheffler’s putting has received more scrutiny this season, McIlroy is not above tinkering.
“Honestly, I just wanted a different look, just wanted to freshen it up,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve got my Spider with me this week if that putter isn’t doing what I want it to do over the first couple days. I may go back. I just wanted to freshen it up.”
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McIlroy said there was very little science in the planning process; more like “go into the garage and see what I had and just pull a couple out and go have a few putts. That was it.”
Inconsistency on the greens has been evident in 2023. McIlroy is 86th in Strokes Gained: Putting after a standout in 2022, during which he ranked 16th in that category. He capped last season by winning his third FedEx Cup championship, more than any other player.
The top 50 from this week’s tournament are alive entering the August 17-20 BMW Championship. The top 30 from that event compete at the finale, the August 24-27 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
McIlroy has narrowed his focus to playing his best toward the late summer with an eye on another title.
“I’d like to think that I play good enough golf over the years to give myself a chance a bunch of times,” he said.
“I’ve gotten hot at the right time. It’s also course fit. East Lake is a course I’ve enjoyed over the years, and it’s always nice knowing when you go back there, you’re always going to have a good shot to win.”
With rains in Memphis this week, McIlroy said the conditions should suit him well there, too.
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“Yeah, I think when it’s wet like this, we’re probably going to play preferred lies the first couple of days just with the amount of mud balls that we’re getting out there,” he said.”I think with the softer conditions, I feel like it’s going to play a little easier, especially the first couple of days if it retains all that rain that we’ve had over the last few days.”
And his strategy for the next three weeks?
“I sort of treat it like a 12-round tournament. You’ve got 12 rounds to play, and you’re trying to go out there and get the best out of yourself for those 12 days.”
Asked his thoughts on Tiger Woods being named to the PGA Tour’s policy board, McIlroy called it a great addition.
“The player over the last 20 years that’s left the biggest legacy on the game, for him to be involved in the discussions around the future of professional golf and what that may look like I think is very important.
“For him to step up and sort of take a little bit of the load off us is very much appreciated.”
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