Rory McIlroy, great return to a familiar putter

Rory McIlroy’s return to a familiar putter – the TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast — helped him win last week’s CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. The flatstick was key to McIlroy’s second win of this calendar year, as he led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (+6.02).

McIlroy benched the mallet putter at the Olympics, opting to compete in Tokyo with a blade-style Scotty Cameron 009M that he said helped him recapture the freedom he felt in his younger days. He finished fourth at the Olympics, qualifying for the seven-man playoff for the bronze before being eliminated on the third extra hole.

McIlroy returned to the Spider at the BMW Championship, and it appears the two are on good terms after their brief time apart. He has gained strokes on the greens in all three starts since returning to the mallet putter.

Rory McIlroy, statements

“Rory’s biggest reason for going back to the Spider X simply is consistency,” said Adrian Rietveld, TaylorMade’s Senior Manager, TOUR. “He is just able to have more consistency week-to-week with Spider as opposed to a blade.” According to Rietveld, McIlroy performed better on short putts in testing with the Spider. “Over the past few months we’ve seen his numbers be notably better with Spider, especially from inside 6 feet,” Rietveld said. “Spider’s technological features allow him to start putts on line with ease and that was a big reason why his Strokes Gained: Putting were what they were at THE CJ CUP.”

Theoretically, a larger, mallet-style putter with more visual cues lends itself to a more repeatable setup and is easier to set up square. That’s one reason clubfitters often advise amateurs and higher handicappers to use non-blade putters. Additionally, the Spider-style putter is more forgiving than a blade and stays more square on a poor stroke thanks to its higher moment of inertia than a blade or mid-mallet style.