Rory McIlroy Gets Augusta Green Lights From His Closest Two Confidents.

Rory McIlroy’s closest confidents, long-time coach Michael Bannon and Dave Stockton who helped steer McIlroy to success in last year’s PGA Championship, have given the 23-year old green lights heading to next month’s Masters.

Bannon and Stockton walked with McIlroy during today’s 9-hole shortened Shell Houston Open Pro-Am and offering advice and guidance to McIlroy whenever they felt the need.

Dave Stockton and Michael Bannon walking down the 6th fairway Wednesday at the Redstone Golf Club. (Photo -

Dave Stockton and Michael Bannon walking down the 6th fairway Wednesday at the Redstone Golf Club. (Photo –

As well, Bannon and Stockton were spotted often just communicating with each other around the Redstone course and host venue for this week’s $6.2m Shell Houston Open.

Bannon has not seen McIlroy for nearly three weeks since his final round 67 in the WGC – Cadillac Championship.

And just two days after McIlroy was relegated to World No. 2 Bannon was asked what he thought of state of McIroy’s game.

“Rory’s game is all good,” said Bannon.

“The main problem was the back swing and that’s fixed so it’s all good stuff for this week and for the Masters.

“His 67 on the final day of Doral clearly showed that Rory’s game was coming together as he played very well.

Dave Stockton working with Rory McIlroy's putter during Tuesday's practice round in Houston.  (Photo -

Dave Stockton working with Rory McIlroy’s putter during Tuesday’s practice round in Houston. (Photo –

“And with Augusta now just two weeks away I am very pleased where his game is and this tournament here in Houston will bed in more what we’ve been doing.

“But if you look back on the history of Rory’s swing this move from going outside to inside wasn’t really typical of him so his takeaway now is more on plane.”

Stockton had walked 18 holes with McIlroy of the Redstone course a day earlier and he echoed Bannon’s sentiments.

And at times during Tuesday’s practice session, Stockton was spotted walking with either one of McIlroy’s wedges under his arm or inspecting McIlroy’s putter, and there was even the scenario on the 13th tee when Stockton stood on one side of the tee practicing using McIlroy’s putter.

Rory McIlroy and Dave Stockton side by side during Tuesday's Shell Houston Open practice round.  (Photo -

Rory McIlroy and Dave Stockton side by side during Tuesday’s Shell Houston Open practice round. (Photo –

“All parts of Rory’s game are good, and the irons and the woods are good while his putting is fine, too,” said Stockton.

“It’s now all a matter of hopefully building on how well he played at Doral as his last round was a great, positive final day’s play.

“I saw Rory this new season at the Match-Play and the first thing that struck me was how good he was hitting all his new clubs.

“Everyone was blaming Nike and stuff after he was beaten by Shane (Lowry) but I never believed that.

“I’ve seen him hitting the clubs a lot now and the clubs look really good so  I was surprised he had the trouble he had.”

Bannon and Stockton parted at the back of the ninth green and with Stockton heading to California to work with a number of LGPA players but before leaving he indicated to Bannon:  “Michael.  You have my cell number so give me a call if you need me.”

While Bannon intends remaining in Houston he will catch up again with McIlroy at next fortnight’s Masters.

McIlroy will tee-up in the company of Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson at 12.50pm local time (5.50pm Irish) while Lowry joins American Ben Kohles and Korean D.H. Lee at 9.10am (2.10pm Irish).

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