Former world No1 Rory McIlroy would have been extremely disappointed to let a maiden victory of 2016 slip through his fingers in Florida on Sunday but if it’s any consolation he lost out to the hottest player on the planet at the moment, Adam Scott.
McIlroy has had his problems and concerns over form this year, which culminated in him missing the cut at last week’s Honda Classic, so it was great to see him back up there at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Although he squandered a four-shot lead before eventually finishing in a tie for third with England’s Danny Willett, I wouldn’t really put it down to McIlroy’s mistakes, despite him having the worst score of the final few groups. Scott was simply sublime.
McIlroy was trialling a new cross-handed putting technique and by the very nature of him being in contention after three rounds shows the method worked well. His stroke looked good and he didn’t miss any stupid ones.
A lot of top players, including the world’s best putter Jordan Spieth, use this method and it’s all to do with levelling your shoulders. When you have your right hand below your left, your left shoulder goes very high and your right very low. If you reverse it, your shoulders actually go very square and you can just rock them.
blown his chances
But returning to Scott, he was just magnificent. He trailed by six strokes with 13 holes to play after finding the water and running up a pair of double bogeys on the third and fifth.
If he’d made such a bad start in perfect conditions, the Australian would probably have thought he’d blown his chances but because it was so tough and windy there was scope for him to just dig his heels in.
But that said, I’m sure he couldn’t have imagined that he would play so well on the back nine, it was extraordinary. And coupled with last week’s victory at the Honda Classic, that’s two wins and a second-place finish out of the last three.
We all know that he is good enough to win anything and has always had one of the best swings going. He has such great balance. I’ve never seen anyone hit the ball as hard off the fairway as he did with his second shot on the tenth hole. He never moved a muscle.
As I mentioned last week, he has adapted to the short putter extremely well too. He never hesitated during that final round and knocked them in consistently. It is fair to say he is looking very good for next month’s Masters at Augusta.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam