Rory McIlroy has again seen his Masters glory hopes dashed and also bitterly reopening the scars of seven years ago with an awful putting display at Augusta National.
McIlroy’s goal of joining golf’s Grand Slam club was dashed by a final round 74 and losing by six shots in tumbling down the board to share fifth place behind new Masters champion, Patrick Reed.
Reed, 27 was never headed posting a closing 71 for a one-shot victory at 15-under par.
Reed wearing a pink shirt at the request of sponsor’s Nike in lieu of his traditional Sunday red, denied the orange outfitted Rickie Fowler, who birdied the last in a round of 67 for a 14-under par total to capture a most-worthy first green jacket.
Jordan Spieth roared into a share of the lead with four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the 12th but then clipped a towering pine at he last to take bogey in a round of 64 to be third at 13-under par.
And it was not a case of Reed beating McIlroy as the American had done in their Hazeltine Sunday Singles showdown but McIlroy beating himself.
McIlroy had done well a day earlier scrambling his way from azalea bushes and the Augusta pines in posting an Augusta equalling 65 to get within three shots of Reed heading to the final day.
In hindsight McIlroy needed a 67 to re-write the history books but in reality he was only player in the leading 16 to post an over-par closing round.
Nobody is exempt from pressure and right from the off Rory looked indifferent as he carved his opening tee shot right, barely staying in bounds.
“It’s frustrating.” Admitted McIlroy after his round. “It’s hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in the position. That’s all I wanted to do. The last four years I’ve had top 10s, but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there. I didn’t quite do enough. But, you know, come back again next year and try.”
The scars from 2011 are still evident and these fresh wounds are bound to have an impact on McIlroy but despite this setback the Holywood man believes his day will come at Augusta National.
“100 percent I can win here. I’ve played in two final groups in the last seven years, I’ve had five top 10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven’t played it well enough at the right time.”
“I’ll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have potentially done better. I just didn’t quite have it today. I played some great golf yesterday. I just didn’t continue that golf into today.” He added.
“I was trying to hit good shots and good putts and anytime I felt like I hit a decent shot, I either left myself on the wrong side of the pin or gave myself a tricky one behind the hill. And then when I did get some opportunities I didn’t take advantage of them. Yeah, tough day, but I’ll be back. And hopefully I’ll be better.”
“I feel like momentum is a huge thing, especially in final rounds. You look at what Jordan and Rickie did. They got on a roll and I didn’t. Patrick and I didn’t at all. We were both around even par, and just sort of grinding out there. And it wasn’t quite what we both had in mind. He just hung in there a little bit better than I did and got the job done. Today I just didn’t quite have it.”
Logic would dictate that it is merely a matter of when, not if, McIlroy will add a green jacket to his wardrobe but as another opportunity slips by and the bad memories add up the pressure will continue to build year on year as he tries to complete the career slam?