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I rescued Rory McIlroy, says golf guru Stockton

Legendary golf guru Dave Stockton last night revealed how he turned Rory McIlroy’s game around after the infamous Masters meltdown.


The newly-crowned US Open champion held the 54-hole lead at Augusta before his putter let him down and he sank to an embarrassing 80 on the final day.

That notorious round included a four-putt double bogey on the 12th hole.

Stockton, who has worked previously with Phil Mickleson and JB Holmes, told us how he met with the 22-year-old a few weeks after his Augusta nightmare and immediately set about changing his approach on the putting greens.

Stockton, a double major winner himself and a victorious Ryder Cup captain, identified areas where Ulster’s latest superstar could improve — and it would end up taking only a matter of minutes. “Basically I met with Rory, watched him putting and it took about 10 minutes to fix,” said the Californian.

“I told him ‘you're a great ball player and your putting is great’.

“We just needed to work on the mental side of things.

“It was just a case of getting him into a rhythm. Rory plays through instinct and feel and that's what's great about him.

“He just needed to line up the ball, look at the hole and the positioning of his feet and follow through on the putt and keep the back of his left hand going towards the target.”

“His mechanics were flawless, but he had to stop concentrating on technique and play what was in front of him.”

McIlroy admits that what Stockton was telling him to do was contrary to everything he had been told before.

“People often said to me we think you're too quick on the greens,” McIlroy said. “But he thought the opposite. ‘You're taking too much time, why are you taking three practice strokes, don't take any practice strokes anymore...’ See the target, where I want to hit it, and just go with it.”

The pair met again at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and could already see an improvement in McIlroy's technique.

“When I went to see him at Wentworth, he had already improved and we just brushed up on his putting and chipping,” he said.

“He's a great kid. He's easy to teach, he really is. When I met him he was just 21-years-old, and he was more like a 35-year-old. If you show him something and he buys into it, he can just do it straight away.”

Stockton said McIlroy did not have the same style as Tiger Woods and his natural approach was more like that of Arnold Palmer.

“All the comparisons are with Tiger but I see Rory as more of a statesman like Arnold Palmer,” he said. “It was beyond belief how relaxed Rory was.”

Belfast Telegraph