x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Rory McIlroy's putts put him back on the top

The Northern Irishman is becoming a serial winner, with a new-found mental fortitude.

Rory McIlroyhas won three PGA Tour titles this season.
Rory McIlroyhas won three PGA Tour titles this season.

Not long ago we were wondering what was wrong with Rory McIlroy. His answer these past few weeks: absolutely nothing.

The Northern Irishman followed last month's gaping US PGA Championship victory with another impressive triumph on Monday, sealing the Deutsche Bank Championship ahead of a leaderboard that included Louis Oosthuizen, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

With a fifth US PGA Tour title and his third of the season, McIlroy is becoming a serial winner. His performance during those final 27 holes at TPC Boston was, to put in the vernacular of the Massachusetts galleries, awesome.

When McIlroy walked off the 11th green of his third round, he trailed Oosthuizen by eight. A back-nine 32, recreated on the front nine on Monday, transformed him into the man to beat; a position he's growing used to.

Having proved comfortable in protecting sizeable leads in majors McIlroy showed he can also produce late surges when he needs them most.

His talent, borne from exemplary ball striking, has never been in question, yet his new-found mental fortitude spells trouble for his rivals. It is conveyed nowhere more clearly than on the greens. McIlroy averaged fewer than 26 putts per round in Boston, the first time in his career he has been so prolific with the flat stick.

Those four missed cuts in five tournaments earlier this season are confined to the past. McIlroy is looking to the future; one that guarantees sustained success.