Rory McIlroy sought to clarify the remarks he made in relation to the U.S. Open and the Open Championship when he said on the eve of the Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy was asked to reflect on his Masters disappointment on Wednesday saying: “The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world and I’m comfortable saying that,” adding: “I don’t care about the US Open or the Open Championship, it is the biggest golf tournament in the world, the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype, everything is at Augusta.”
But after an opening 68 left him one shot off the early clubhouse lead in North Carolina, McIlroy returned to the point.
“I didn’t mean it like that at all. I meant like I sort of was trying to say like if you look at where the U.S. Open and The Open were compared to the Masters 50 years ago, they were bigger golf tournaments,” he said.
“Now, I think after everything that’s happened over the past 50 years and the improvements that Augusta makes year on year, I feel like the amount of time between the last major of the season, the first major of the season, the hype, the eyeballs, the everything, I think it’s just a slight — it’s just a notch above the other ones.
“I don’t know if that’s because we return to the same venue every year and there’s a nostalgic feeling for everyone because of that, but that’s what I was trying to say.
“I care deeply about those other ones. I’m a proud winner of both of those tournaments.
“I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful at all. I was just trying to say that from where those tournaments were in stature in this game to where now the Masters is, I feel like the Masters has replaced those two tournaments.
“And that’s not to take anything away from the PGA as well. I just think it stands alone in terms of the four majors and that’s all I was trying to say.”
Well said, Rory.