Monday, May 27, 2024

McIlroy: “I’m going to keep coming back until it is my year” – Irish Golfer Magazine

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“This place is… It’s an amazing golf tournament, I’m super grateful to be able to come back here every year and compete in it. It hasn’t been my year this year, but I’m going to keep coming back until it is my year.”

Those were the words of Rory McIlroy, whose quest for the Career Grand Slam and that elusive Green Jacket pretty much died a death on ‘Black Friday’, the toughest scoring round Augusta National has witnessed since 2007, but the world number two remained upbeat despite the obvious disappointment.

“I guess it’s more the same of what I’ve shown this year,” he said after closing out a one-over 73 that left him on +4 for the tournament, tied for 23rd with several others still out on the course. “It’s not as if it’s been a down week in comparison to the way I’ve been playing. It’s just a matter of me trying to get my game in a bit better shape going towards the rest of the season.”

Any hopes of a Sunday charge were hampered by an opening bogey and a three-putt-par from six feet at the second, and he took another four putts when faced with a lengthy eagle attempt on 13 and in many ways, it summed up McIlroy’s week.

“Yeah. I mean, I don’t really know what to say,” he admitted. “Just sort of felt like my game was okay and managed it pretty well, but obviously Friday was a really tough day, and losing five shots sort of put me in a pretty difficult position going into the weekend.

“Then the conditions were pretty tough. The greens are crusty and firm and hard to get the ball super close and hard to make a ton of birdies. Once you get seven or eight back going into the weekend here, it’s hard to make up that ground.”

He still thinks he’s not far away from finding top form, however, but each aspect of his game have thrown up issues this year, even if you have to go all the way back to last year’s Masters to find his last missed cut.

“Yeah, because all these disappointing weeks are 20ths, 25ths,” he responded when he was asked if his game was close to firing on all cylinders. “They’re not terrible weeks by any stretch, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

“I’m close in some ways, but then I feel quite far away in others. It’s a bit of a — once I get one thing, sort of put that to bed, then another thing pops up, and it’s just one of those at the minute.”

“Just a little bit of control, I think, with the ball-striking, especially in those sorts of winds,” he added when pushed on specifics. “It really exposes any weaknesses that you may have. That Friday definitely exposed a few things.

“As the golf course changes here, you just have to be so precise, and I wasn’t quite precise enough this week.”

Bryson DeChambeau looks as though he’s going to come up short in his efforts to add the Masters to his 2020 US Open title, but he’s been one of the main talking points this week and McIlroy admitted earlier this year that he missed having those characters competing against him with any sort of regularity.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he though Bryson had added to the entertainment value again this week. “The Masters stands alone in terms of every other golf tournament, but I think even in terms of the ratings the first two days on ESPN looked like they were up, which is a sign that when we’re all back together, then golf thrives. When we’re divided, it doesn’t. That’s just another example of why we should all try to put our heads together and get back together.”

It is now approaching 10 years since McIlroy last won one of golf’s four biggest individual events, but even after this latest disappointing showing at the Masters, he’s not intending to return to the drawing board ahead of the three remaining major championships of 2024.

“Yeah, probably not the right time to be analytical at the moment,” he said, “but I think as well if you’re really going to make wholesale changes it’s hard to play a lot of golf and make them at the same time. I don’t feel like I need to make wholesale changes. That’s why I’m playing a lot. But if the time comes that I need to make wholesale changes with my golf swing and really try to reassess, it could be a six-month to a year process.

“Not saying I wouldn’t play any tournaments in that time, but the focus would be on the sort of technical side of things and really not result driven at all. I don’t think I’m there yet, but there may come a time where I need to address that and really go back to the drawing board.

“But I think right now it’s little tweaks here and there and managing my game. I really feel like I can sort of play my way into form here over these next few weeks.”

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