DUBLIN, Ohio -- With the U.S. Open looming, the idea of changing putting strokes perhaps appeared to be a risk this week at the Memorial Tournament for Rory McIlroy.
As it turns out, it was not a huge deal, as McIlroy finished a good tournament on Sunday with a 4-under-par 68 to tie for fourth while inclement weather delayed the final round.
McIlroy, ranked third in the world, had won the Irish Open in his most recent start -- then switched from the left-hand-low method he went to in March, back to the standard putting grip he has used for the bulk of his career.
No worries, said Rory.
"I've never relied on my putting to play my best golf,'' McIlroy said after finishing at 13 under par. "Obviously, when you're winning tournaments, you need to hole a few putts, but I'd be way more comfortable changing my putting grip week to week than I would trying to tinker with my swing or do something with my long game.''
McIlroy appears in need of tinkering with nothing at the moment.
Although he wasn't really in contention Sunday, he had plenty of positives to draw upon, including the way he hit the ball off the tee. McIlroy had several huge drives during the week -- he hit one 382 yards at the 17th hole on Sunday -- and averaged 303 yards for the week to lead the field.
But perhaps more important was McIlroy's putting. Typically a sore spot and the aspect of his game that holds him back, McIlroy was second for the week in strokes gained putting and never took more than 29 putts in a round. (He had more than 30 in each round two weeks ago in Ireland.)
"Off the tee I was really good this week, and I feel like my putting improved a lot,'' he said. "If you look at the stats from my putting, I feel like it's been really good. So all things considered, it's been a decent week. Time to get ready for Oakmont.''
And that process will begin almost immediately. McIlroy said he was headed to Pittsburgh on Sunday night and had planned practice rounds for the site of next week's U.S. Open both Monday and Tuesday.
He has never been to the course -- which will host the U.S. Open for a record ninth time -- but said he logged onto the United States Golf Association's website on Saturday to take a look and see some of the flyover video and photos.
"I know there's a big road that goes through the middle of it,'' said McIlroy, referring to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which cuts through the course after the first green, with the second through eighth holes on the other side of the highway.
"It looks like an awesome golf course,'' he said. "It looks unbelievably hard and it will reward very good ball-striking. It's going to be tough. I remember watching a little bit of it back in '07 when [Angel] Cabrera won. I'd say you're probably going to expect a similar score to win this year again if conditions are the way they want them to be.''
Cabrera won at Oakmont nine years ago with a total of 285, 5 over par.
As for what McIlroy can improve, he did not hesitate.
"My iron play hasn't been great,'' said McIlroy, who won the U.S. Open in 2011. "I'm just not hitting the ball close enough to the flag with my mid-irons. I need to work on that a little bit, try to shallow up the plane a little bit. So that's what I'll be working on primarily from now until Thursday.''