Brandel Chamblee sharply criticizes Rory McIlroy’s putting ‘routine’ after U.S. Open loss

Rory McIlroy grabs his head after missing short putt on 18 to lose 2024 U.S. Open

Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a short putt on 18 to lose the 2024 U.S. Open.

Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

There’s no way to get around it: Rory McIlroy blew an incredible chance at ending his decade-long major drought on Sunday at the 2024 U.S. Open. Two missed putts were the most glaring culprits, and NBC/Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee was quick to blame those failures in a sharp criticism shortly after the tournament ended.

With three bogeys over his final four holes, McIlroy handed Bryson DeChambeau a second U.S. Open title that should have been his. At holes 16 and 18, Rory missed putts from 2-feet, 6-inches, and just under four feet, to put a historically shocking end to a thrilling final round.

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Chamblee joined Golf Channel’s “Live From” booth not long after DeChambeau’s final putt dropped, and after giving Bryson his due, he turned to McIlroy’s collapse.

“We’ll be talking about the misses by Rory McIlroy at 16 and 18 forever,” Chamblee began calmly, “We still talk about Hubert Green missing that putt at the Masters. We still talk about Scott Hoch missing that putt.”

But quickly Chamblee became animated when criticizing McIlroy’s putting “routine,” one he argued ultimately led to McIlroy’s embarrassment on Pinehurst No.2’s greens Sunday evening.

“You know I’m a big fan of [sports psychologist] Bob Rotella… but I am not a big fan of routines. I don’t understand it, I don’t get it,” Chamblee said Sunday evening. “I feel like over the last 10 years Rory’s fallen in love with a routine. As if the routine in a putting stroke is more important than the stroke, more important to feel comfortable.”

He used 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus as an example to counter what he sees as McIlroy’s philosophy around putting routines.

“Jack Nicklaus didn’t have a routine… Jack would always say, ‘I wait until I get the right picture in my mind.'”, Chamblee continued, “This is my problem with routine. These are not routine. That putt he had on 18 is not routine. It’s down the hill, it’s breaking to the right. You wait until you get the right picture.”

Chamblee then went to the other golfer in the debate for Greatest of All Time, Tiger Woods, to prove his point even further.

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“Go back and watch Tiger Woods’ better-than-most putt. Watch him stalk that putt for two minutes. Watch him get up over it and not take his normal routine. He made strokes with just one hand trying to get the feel for it. Never seen him do that before. Where did that come from? He made it.”

The way Chamblee sees it, McIlroy’s process on Sunday at Pinehurst stands in stark contrast to the example of Nicklaus and Woods.

“I have a problem with routines, and to me it’s like you think about the routine. It’s more important that you make the putt and find the right picture. And I think that’s part of the problem at 16 and 18 for Rory.”

It should be said that McIlroy’s putting routine did help him get into contention in the first place, look no further than the multiple lengthy putts Rory did drain on Sunday.

But McIlroy didn’t meet with the media following the U.S. Open, so we’ll have to wait to hear his side of the story. But we might not have to wait long. McIlroy is scheduled to play in this week’s Travelers Championship, with a press conference tentatively planned for Wednesday.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

As managing producer for, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

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