How this Brad Faxon putting tip powered Rory McIlroy to latest win

Brad Faxon talks to Michael Breed to describe how his putting tip helped Rory McIlroy find success on the greens during his victory in Dubai

Brad Faxon explains to Michael Breed how his putting tip helped Rory McIlroy find success on the greens during his victory in Dubai.

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There’s just something about Dubai that Rory McIlroy loves — maybe it’s the fact that he often leaves with the sweet taste of victory.

After winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic for a record fourth time last weekend, McIlroy looks to be in solid form as he gears up for another grueling PGA Tour year.

“It’s a great start to the season,” McIlroy said. “I started well last year with the win here. A couple of little things to work on, but these weeks are great.”

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What’s most impressive about McIlroy’s victory in Dubai is that it was mostly unexpected — at least through two rounds.

The 34-year-old pro entered the weekend 10 shots back, but he shot a spectacular nine-under 63 on Saturday to leapfrog the field and claim a spot in Sunday’s final group. From there, he shot two under in the final round to hold off both Adrian Meronk and Cameron Young.

So what made such a sudden impact for McIlroy? Turns out some putting advice from his short game coach, Brad Faxon.

What Faxon suggested to improve McIlroy’s putting

On Tuesday, Faxon spoke with Sirius XM’s Michael Breed about a request from McIlroy’s caddie, Harry Diamond, who sent Faxon a video of McIlroy putting during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

“[The video] showed Rory hitting a putt a little bit lower on the putter face than he would like to hit it,” Faxon said. “We always talk about how important center[face] contact is, but it’s really important on a putter as well. Rory’s had great feelings in the past of feeling like his putter head stays lower through the ball, rather than coming up higher.”

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Faxon added that McIlroy’s putter (a TaylorMade Spider mallet) is a shallower face, making it more pronounced when you see the ball getting lower on the face. By recognizing this, Faxon — who has been McIlroy’s putting coach since 2018 — suggested a subtle change, emphasizing the lower face.

“I rarely send something to any player during a tournament, but that was something I thought was going to help him — since Diamond mentioned [McIlroy] had missed a couple shorter putts,” Faxon added. “At the Tour Championship in 2022 [when he won], he really had this feeling that his putter was staying down and low, and he likes the feeling that his right shoulder, his right elbow, and his right wrist move down, in a piston-like motion.

“That keeps the putter head low, and it keeps the contact solid.”

“It was a familiar thought and a familiar feel,” McIlroy said on Sunday. “I definitely felt like I putted a bit better on the weekend.”

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Nick Dimengo Editor