The Masters is the one major that has evaded Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy has famously struggled at inopportune moments throughout his career, first blowing a four-stroke lead in 2011, finishing eighth and fourth in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and last year, sat one behind Jordan Spieth for the lead before shooting a 77 on Saturday to finish 10th overall.
Just one major away from winning a grand slam, McIlroy admitted before The Masters to Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker that the tournament is in his head.
When asked what he thinks about when The Masters is brought up, McIlroy was blunt.
“Stressful. I am, ask anyone who knows me, a complete pr— in the week leading up to Augusta. But they understand and know that. It’s a stressful situation.”
After last year’s tournament, McIlroy admitted that he doesn’t think his problems are flaws in his game so much as mental blocks. One of the best game’s best drivers, but lacklustre in the short game, it’s easy to see how McIlroy’s formula hasn’t always added up in crucial moments at The Masters.
During his pre-tournament press conference, McIroy said he actually got advice from Jack Nicklaus on the best way to play the course.
“Actually I had a little conversation yesterday with Jack Nicklaus in Florida,” McIlroy said. “He said to me, ‘I took on too much a couple of times and it cost me a couple of green jackets.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you have six’. But he said it is a golf course that can tempt you. It can tempt you into doing a little bit too much.”
McIlroy also told Wacker that he hopes having played a few rounds for fun at Augusta might help his mentality this time around.
“The more comfortable you can feel around Augusta the better. … If you can get up there and make it feel as if you’re just playing another round of golf at another golf course … like I was up there and I’m just messing around playing different shots and thinking why couldn’t I do this during the tournament?”
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