DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy switched his putting grip before the start of the Memorial Tournament, and it paid off as he closed with a 4-under 68 in his final competitive round before the U.S. Open.
The world No. 3 came into the week ranked 122nd in strokes-gained putting, and despite winning in his last start at the Irish Open, McIlroy ditched the left-hand low grip after a three-month experiment.
For the third straight day he took 26 putts and was second in the field this week in strokes-gained putting.
“I feel like my game's in good shape,” McIlroy said. “Off the tee I was really good this week, and I feel like my putting improved quite a lot.”
McIlroy unleashed mammoth drives all week at Muirfield Village – he crushed a drive 382 yards off the 17th tee Sunday – and with his improved putting, the 2011 U.S. Open champion has just one thing to work on between now and his Round 1 tee time at Oakmont.
“My iron play hasn't been great,” McIlroy said. “I'm just not hitting the ball close enough to the flag with my mid-irons. I need to work on that a little bit, try to shallow out the plane a little bit. Getting a little steep with my short irons. So that's what I'll be working on primarily.”
McIlroy will get his first look at Oakmont during practice rounds Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, but he has already started his preparation.
“I was actually on the USGA website last night just looking at the flyovers for the holes and stuff,” he said. “So I don't really know a lot about it. I know there's a big road that goes through the middle of it. It looks like an awesome golf course. It looks unbelievably hard, and it will reward very good ball-striking. It's going to be tough.”