This season, world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler ranks 135th in Stokes Gained: Putting. Rory McIlroy is 84th.
Despite the struggles with the flat-stick, both players have won twice in the 2022-23 campaign: Scheffler at the Players and WM Phoenix Open, McIlroy at the CJ Cup and Scottish Open.
But those win totals could be even higher with decent showings on the greens. Scheffler finished T-5 or better in seven straight events from the AT&T Byron Nelson to Scottish Open. McIlroy is currently on a run of seven straight finishes of T-9 or better.
If either player got it going on the greens, they could be looking at four or five wins this season.
As the two best players in the world arrived at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, for the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first event of the playoffs, they were spotted practicing with different putters.
It’s three Spiders (two with steel shafts and one with LA Golf graphite) with the same plumbers neck. Cameron has steel shaft and an insert.
— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) August 8, 2023
“The guys at Taylor Made have done a lot of work for me with the putter,” Scheffler told the media Wednesday. “I’ve always liked the visual of that Spider putter, but I really just did not like the feel. That’s something we discussed, kind of the feel and — I’ve always struggled with putters that have a lot of weight in the back side of it, and this one is a bit different than a lot of the Spiders that they’ve made, and the weight is more in the front so it has the feel of a blade putter that I like but it also has a lot of that visual on the top where it’s easier for me to line up. It feels like at times this year I’ve hit a lot of good putts that have gone right up to the edge and not gone in.”
As for McIlroy, he played his practice round Tuesday with a Scotty Cameron Phantom 5.5.
New flat stick for Rory this week pic.twitter.com/dB9OQpg4Fc
— LKD (@LukeKerrDineen) August 8, 2023
“Honestly, I just wanted a different look, just wanted to freshen it up,” McIlroy said. “I’ve got my Spider with me this week if that putter isn’t doing what I want it to do over the first couple days. I may go back. I just wanted to freshen it up.
“Honestly, it was zero testing process. It was go into the garage and see what I had and just pull a couple out and go have a few putts. That was it.”
The Northern Irishman put an old Scotty in the bag in March at the WGC Dell Match Play but went back to his TaylorMade Spider X shortly thereafter.
Scheffler made a change recently at the U.S. Open, putting a wider-bodied Scotty Cameron in the bag.
McIlroy, Scheffler and Jon Rahm headline the tee sheet and will play together for the first two rounds in Memphis. The trio tees off Thursday at 10:26 a.m. ET.