Disheartened and uncertain where to turn after missing July’s PGA Championship cut, Rory McIlroy found something in his putting stroke while winning the Deutsche Bank Championship to start September.
Then he won Sunday’s Tour Championship in Atlanta and a $10 million FedEx Cup playoffs bonus, too. The question now: Will his rediscovered confidence and winning ways follow him to Hazeltine National Golf Club and his fourth Ryder Cup?
“It’s just incredible, this game, how quickly things can change around,” he said.
McIlroy believed he was still striking the ball this summer as he had winning four major titles, but none since the 2014 PGA. But what European captain Darren Clarke called a misbehaving putter abandoned him when he missed cuts this summer at the U.S. Open and the PGA.
He soon ended up in famed English putting coach Phil Kenyon’s studio, receiving direct help he hadn’t sought long distance with putting confidante Dave Stockton.
“People who know me know I’m not one to seek out advice,” McIlroy said. “I always try to figure it out on my own.”
He found fruit in his work with Kenyon at the Deutsche Bank. After starting the event 4-over par after just three holes, he played the next 69 holes 19-under par. After a 42nd-place finish at the BMW Championship, he won again in Atlanta.
“I think you need weeks like that,” he said. “From a low point you can work yourself back up and really assess what you need to do. I think it was blatantly obvious what I needed to do after Baltusrol. I didn’t think results were going to come as quickly as they have done, really.”