Rory McIlroy insists he’d prefer to be streaky as a putter and a player than a pedestrian plodder.
As he prepared to chase his first win of the year in the Honda Classic, the world No 3 confessed that he has all but accepted that he’s not going to putt well every week, or even contend, as his all out attacking style sometimes backfires.
“I've almost accepted the fact that I'm probably going to be a streaky putter, which is fine,” said McIlroy, whose record in the Honda Classic is as streaky as his putting.
“It's served me well up until this point; when I'm on, I hole putts and it's good. And when I don’t, in the weeks I struggle to hole putts, I still feel like I’ve got a good chance to win.”
Having finished 13th, 40th and 70th before winning to become world No 1 in 2012, McIlroy walked off the course amid managerial problems the following year, lost in a playoff in 2014 and then missed the cut for the first time last season.
Asked if his record was a reflection of the nature of the water-strewn, windblown course, he shook his head and joked: “I think it’s the nature of me.”
While he slipped from contention to tied 20th following a closing 75 in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera last week, undone by his putting and course management as he was forced to chase, McIlroy is looking forward to having another chance to win.
“I was looking good for most of the week last week and had a bad finish, but I feel like my game’s there,” he said. “And that’s the great thing about golf… there’s always next week.”
He’s prepared to attack every week and accept failures if he can win even 20 percent of the time. And he’s got the same attitude to putting.
“For me, putting, it’s a bit of a journey, trying to figure out how I’m thinking and what I'm feeling when I putt well and what I’m maybe feeling and thinking when I don’t putt so well,” he said.
“I feel like technique-wise, I'm able to start the ball on line. I feel like I can read greens pretty well. So I think it's more of a mental thing.
“There’s some putts I stand over that I know I'm going to hole. And there's some putts I stand over that I just feel uncomfortable and you know that you're just not. So I think mostly it's all mental for me.”
Winning is McIlroy’s barometer of progress but with four events till to go before the Masters, he’s focussing on getting wins rather than specific preparation for Augusta.
Prepared to accept that he’ll lose more often than he wins, he said: ”I feel like the way I play, especially with the aggressiveness of my play, there are going to be times when it won’t always work out good for me and I've accepted that.
"Golf for me is all about 22 weeks in a year. If I were to have five wins in that run but then also 10 missed cuts you have to be pretty happy."
McIlroy is scheduled to tee off with defending champion Padraig Harrington and Open winner Zach Johnson but the Dubliner’s preparations were upset by a back problem that forced him to withdraw from yesterday morning’s Pro-Am on the third hole.
The 44-year old did not want to risk doing himself further damage and while he underwent physiotherapy, he was not considered likely to withdraw.
Harrington needs a win to qualify for the Masters but for former US Open champion Graeme McDowell is playing the next two events hoping to clinch his place in the field for the WGC-Cadillac Matchplay.
Ranked 73rd in the world knowing he must make the top 64 after Doral next week, he said: “Of course, I want to qualify for the Match Play but then a good result this week and next week will take care of that.”