Is this the end of Rory McIlroy’s putting game?

There is no doubt that Rory McIlroy is one of the best players out on the PGA Tour.

An incredible CV boasts four major wins, 16 PGA Tour titles, whilst being currently sat second in the FedEx Cup standings.

It just seems that Rory’s inability to close out Championships is stopping him from reaching the heights of golfing immortality – in recent events the putter has really gone COLD TURKEY.

In a dismal couple of weeks, the Northern Irishman missed the cut in the Open Championship on home soil at Royal Portrush as well as throwing away a final-round lead at the WGC FedEx St Jude invitational last weekend. Is the recent drop in form a tale of pressure with the putter?

Rory went into the Open Championship at Royal Portrush (a course where he holds the record score) as red-hot favourite to lift his fifth major on home soil. That optimism was soon diminished after a nightmare first round of +8. An abysmal putting performance saw Rory miss the cut by one shot despite a brave Friday fightback.

McIlroy’s Open really came to a head on Thursday on the 16th green, three-putting from within 6ft – a putt my nan would have probably sunk.

In Memphis at the St Jude Invitational, the tide seemed to have turned. McIlroy putted solidly through 54, earning him the clubhouse lead on Saturday evening (-12), with Brooks Koepka sitting pretty a shot back (-11).

The stage was set for a mammoth heavyweight bout between two giants of the game, as first took on second in the FedEx Cup standings. What we got instead was a white flag, as Rory’s horrific form with the putter continued.

In a disappointing 71 (+1), the putter went cold on the big stage yet again, just as Koepka found his form on the green.

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But how do Rory’s stats compare over the season, does the pressure with the putter only get to him at the big events and Sunday rounds?

McIlroy’s first putt conversion standings on PGA TOUR this season are:

  • Thursday – T146
  • Friday – T13
  • Saturday – T73
  • Sunday – T83

The rankings of first putt conversion rate show that it is the opening and closing of Rory’s rounds that are affected most by his lack of form with the putter – arguably the two most pressured and important rounds of any event.

As Koepka now overtakes Rory into top spot in the FedEx Cup standings, the question is whether he can he find his form in time for the play-offs and that all-important Tour Championship.

McIlroy has a great chance to bounce back next week at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club – but only if he can get that putter working for him on the green.