Golf coaches, tragics and ‘straighty-180’ old-timers choked on their porridge when McIlroy spoke out against the importance of the short game. But after a dominant iron display to win the US Open, maybe he’s right.
Earlier this year, Rory McIlroy was quoted as saying that the short game was not the most important part of golf.
“I don’t care what anyone says about the short game being the most important, it’s not.”
“The long game puts you in position to have putts to win tournaments. Guys say you have to have short game to win tournaments and it is not the case. Not at all.”
What at first appeared to be claptrap, was then taken a little more seriously when the great Jack Nicklaus defended McIlroy’s statement.
“I agree with Rory. In fact, it was me who told him so in the first place, when we had lunch last year.
“I told Rory that I never practised my short game because I felt like if I can hit 15 greens a round and hit a couple of par-fives in two and if I can make all my putts inside 10 feet, who cares where I chip it?”
Despite the Golden Bear backing up McIlroy’s comments, I’m not sure it was taken too seriously. I mean, we all know how difficult it can be getting up-and-down from off the green, and just how much difference it can make to your score if you can.
But that’s the point isn’t it? If you are in a position to have to get up-and-down, then you’re obviously not playing good golf and giving yourself birdie opportunities.
McIlroy has proven his point this week. His putting wasn’t outstanding but his iron play was phenomenal. He was rarely in a position where he had to desperately get up and down or make a tricky putt for bogey because he hit so many greens, close to the pins.But before you forget about your short game altogether, please keep in a mind a few more things.
Firstly, for the average golfer, the amount of time invested in the short game is still minimal compared to the time at the range. If you compared the same ratio against professional golfers, it would be vastly different.
Secondly, if your irons are firing, you can shoot low. But on a day when your irons aren’t working, without a good short game you cannot turn a bad score into a good one.
Neglect it at your own peril.