Rory McIlroy finished runner-up to Scotty Scheffler at Augusta National and is looking for his first major success since 2014; Watch the Masters exclusively live this week on Sky Sports Golf; coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday at 2:00 p.m.
By Ali Stafford at Augusta National
Last updated: 04/04/23 16:00
Rich Beam shares his reasons why he thinks Rory McIlroy will win at Augusta this year
Rory McIlroy believes he has shed some of the “scar tissue” from the past at The Masters and has “all the ingredients” to complete his Grand Slam career at Augusta National.
The world No. 2 comes in as one of the pre-tournament favorites to end his long drought and become just the sixth player to win a Grand Slam, having enjoyed a top-10 finish in half of his previous 14 appearances.
McIlroy squandered a four-shot lead going into the final day in 2011 and has had several near misses since, although he now aims to go one better than his runner-up Scotty Scheffler in last year’s event.
Rory McIlroy says he feels he has “shed the scar tissue” from his strong finish at last year’s Masters as he prepares for this year’s tournament.
“Last year I felt like maybe I shed some of that scar tissue and I felt like I made some kind of progress,” McIlroy said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I feel as relaxed as I’ve ever been coming in here, just in terms of feeling like my game is in a pretty good place.
“I know the place as well as anyone. I’ve always felt that I have the physical ability to win this tournament, but I’m in the right head space to let that physical ability shine.
The Masters – Live
April 6, 2023 at 2:00 p.m
“It was tentative starts, not putting my foot on the gas early. I’ve had a couple of bad nine holes that sometimes put me out of the tournament.
“I have all the ingredients to make a pie. It’s just putting all those ingredients in and setting the oven to the right temperature and letting it all happen. But I know I have everything there. it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
Watch every shot of Rory McIlroy’s record-breaking 64 from the final round of the 2022 Masters
An ideal course for McIlroy.
McIlroy finished no worse than eighth in four majors last year and won three times on the PGA Tour, including FedExCup success in the Tour Championship, with the Northern Irishman also leading the DP World Tour rankings before starting 2023 at Hero Dubai With a Desert Classic win.
Equipment changes have seen McIlroy revert to an older player and shorten the shaft of his driver in preparation for The Masters, and the four-time major champion impressed at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last month to give him confidence heading into the tournament. to the main stage of the opening. the year.
Rory McIlroy says he hopes he can prevent the occasion from getting the better of him this year at the Masters, admitting it has affected his performances in previous years.
“There have been players in the past who have been told this course is tailored for them and they haven’t won a green jacket,” McIlroy added. “That’s always on my mind, too.
“Just because a place is considered great for your game, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to beat it one day. There’s more to it than that. There have also been players who think this golf course will win. Well done to them and they won the Green Jacket.
“It’s a factor and it’s nice to know that I come back to this place every year and if I play like I know I can then I should have a good chance. I don’t need to do anything else this week. “.
The Masters – Live
April 6, 2023, 7:30 p.m
How will LIV’s presence affect the Masters?
Six former Masters champions are part of the 18-man LIV contingent in the field this week, with McIlroy explaining why the tournament itself is far more important than any potential rifts between players on rival tours.
“I see some of them [LIV] guys at home,” McIlroy explained. “I see Brooks [Koepka] I see DJ a lot [Dustin Johnson] there are many of us, we kind of practice in the same place. I think the more time you get with certain people, the more comfortable you become in some ways.
Rory McIlroy has played down the ongoing feud between golf’s competitive tours and thinks it’s great that the world’s best players will all be competing at The Masters.
“It’s a very nuanced situation and there are different dynamics. You know, it’s good to hang out with Brooks and DJ and maybe not hang out with some of the other guys who went to LIV, right? It’s interpersonal, that’s how it goes.
But this week and this tournament is much bigger than any of those, I feel, and it’s just great to have all the best players in the world together again for the first time in what seems like a long time.”
Watch the Masters all week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the opening round starts at 2pm on Thursday on Sky Sports Golf.