Rory McIlroy is one of the most talented golfers of all time.
That shouldn't be in question. His ability to shape a ball in the air any which way he wants, get it to sit down softly whilst hitting it a mile is incredible. His power of the tee is remarkable.
His putting? Not so much.
Pretty sure I could take money off Rory McIlroy in a putting competition right now
— Cian Murtagh (@cianmnews) July 29, 2016
Putting issues have plagued McIlroy's career. When he's hot with the putter, he's really hot - and he ends up winning majors by eight or nine strokes. When he's not, he misses the cut - just like he did in the US PGA.
In the last two majors, McIlroy has been fantastic from tee-to-green, giving himself the kind of birdie chances from eight feet on almost every hole that should see him constantly post 63s or better. But he's not, because more often than they should - those putts aren't dropping.
To emphasise how bad it's gotten, this stat from the PGA Tour really hits home:
1st in strokes gained: off the tee
151st in strokes gained: puttinghttps://t.co/MZK5844Bws pic.twitter.com/yh5o7dR9o1
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 30, 2016
For the uninitiated, that means that McIlroy is so good at driving, that his power and accuracy combination saves him on average 1.227 shots a round compared to the average professional golfer. By comparison, that's every round he's 0.8 shots better than Jason Day off the tee, or 0.7 better than Spieth.
But he's losing 0.5 shots on the green putting every round - made worse by the fact that the leaders in strokes gained in putting include Jason Day (1), Phil Mickelson (4), and Jordan Spieth (5). Meaning that the 0.8 shots that McIlroy gains on Day from his driving - he gives back 1.5 shots every round on the greens.
It's tough to win a major conceding that sort of advantage to your biggest rivals.
McIlroy's putting this week wasn't the just the reason he missed the cut, but also why he didn't contend. Had he turned his 35 putts on Thursday into the more average 28 putts for a round - he'd be -5 with a big chance to win, rather than packing his bags.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE