McIlroy “flattered” by Tiger’s Masters backing

Peter Finnan

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Peter Finnan

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Rory McIlroy said he was flattered to hear that Tiger Woods gave him his usual ringing endorsement before The Masters.

McIlroy’s pre-tournament press conference was brief. It started early, lasted eleven minutes and he answered just seven questions, one of those was to respond to Woods’ yearly comments that the Holywood man will win the Masters at some point.

“It’s flattering,” McIlroy said. “It’s nice to hear, in my opinion, the best player ever to play the game say something like that.

“Does that mean that it’s going to happen? Obviously not. But he’s been around the game long enough to know that I at least have the potential to do it.

“I know I’ve got the potential to do it too. It’s not as if I haven’t been a pretty good player for the last couple of decades. But, yeah, it’s nice to hear it when it comes out of his mouth.”

McIlroy urged for patience when talking about his game plan for his 16th start at the Masters and he echoed those sentiments on Tuesday.

This is attempt number ten for the four-time major winner at completing the Grand Slam who hasn’t won a major championship since the 2014 US PGA Championship.

Despite missing the cut last year, McIlroy insists he has what it takes to contend this week.

“I feel like I’ve got all the tools to do well this week.

“But to bring those tools out, I think one of the most important things is to enjoy it and smell the, I guess not the roses, the azaleas along the way.

“This is my 16th start in The Masters, so I feel like I’ve done it quite a few different ways, and I guess am just trying to bring a little bit of normalcy into what I sort of try to do week in, week out.

“I play 25 weeks a year, and there’s no point in doing anything different this week compared to other weeks, I guess.

“I wanted to play quite a bit leading up to this just to feel like my game was sharp or, if it wasn’t sharp, to try to get it in the best shape possible. I feel like I made a couple of good strides in that direction last week in Texas.”

McIlroy departed the press room. He was the last person to register for the tournament, just 30 minutes before his press conference.

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