Rory McIlroy insists Masters history will not dictate that an Augusta National green jacket will magically fall into his lap.
Rory McIlroy / Image from Getty Images
McIlroy will tee-up in a 10th Masters having been reminded that Augusta greats Ben Hogan and Sam Snead won a first Masters at their 10th attempt.
It’s water off a duck’s back to the now 28-year old McIlroy that Arnold Palmer was a similar age when Arnie was first fitted with a green jacket.
“I mean, there’s loads of different numbers you could throw around,” said McIlroy.
“You can mention Hogan and Snead on their 10th go. Arnold won his first Masters at 28. There’s a lot of different comparisons you could make. But it’s all really meaningless unless you go out there and actually do it.
“I feel like I’ve been here long enough and I’ve played enough rounds around here to know how to play this golf course well and well enough to win.
“I never come in here thinking I’ve served my time and this is my turn because it’s never your turn. You have to go out and get it.”
It’s a commendable attitude to have as it was seven-years ago in 2011 that McIlroy was handed a Masters statistic the then 22-year old would rather not be reminded of – leading going into the final round only to implode shooting a last day 80 and lose by 10 shots. It’s proved the character-builder that helped him go on to win the ‘other’ three Majors.
“I place a lot of importance on what happened here in 2011 and I feel like it made me a better player, I feel like it made me a better person, it definitely was a character builder,” he said.
“It took me a while to get over it, but I knew if I looked at the big picture it would serve me well in the long run. And I don’t think I would have had the career I’ve had so far if it wasn’t for that day. So, I think it was very important.
“Since then I haven’t really gotten myself in that position where I’ve had that chance again at this golf course.
“So, hopefully this is the year where all the things that I’ve learned over the years from that experience can be put into practice on Sunday afternoon.”
On Monday night, McIlroy revealed he’d watched video highlights of Adam Scott’s 2013 play-off victory over Angel Cabrera, with Scott becoming the first Aussie in some 70-years to win at Augusta National.
“It was impressive what Scott achieved as Cabrera had already won a Masters and to see Adam’s determination to get the job done, and with history against an Australian winning the Masters, was very impressive and somewhat inspirational,” he said.
“But the game of golf is in such a healthy place, when you look down the world rankings and you see the guys that are up there and the likes of Bubba Watson, Phil, Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, everyone is playing well, they’re great players.
“So, you’re going to have to beat someone that’s playing well. There’s a lot of people playing well, and it just means you have to play a little bit better.
“But it’s great for the Tournament. It’s great for the excitement for the overall game. And as a fan of golf myself, I think golf is in a great place right now.”
McIlroy’s ‘Take Four’ quest to win the Masters and the coveted Grand Slam will see the Ulsterman playing alongside former Masters winner, Adam Scott and Spanish sensation, Jon Rahm.
The trio will tee-off Thursday at 7.38pm (Irish) and Friday 3.42pm (Irish) and on the opposite side of the draw both days to the commotion and following Tiger Woods will attract.
Woods is out at 3.42pm Thursday and 6.27pm Friday.
MASTERS FEATURED FIRST ROUNDS (Irish Time Thursday)
1.15pm – Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player (Official starters)
3.42pm – Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood
3.53pm – Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Doc Redman (US Amateur champ)
4.04pm – Bubba Waston, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day
6.27pm – Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar
6.38pm – Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
6.49pm – Jordan Spieth, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen
7pm – Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello.