Only a Masters title stands between Rory McIlroy and the career grand slam, and if the 25-year-old hopes to become just the sixth player in history to win all four majors, he knows he’ll need a little help.
He already has a swing coach (Michael Bannon). He already has a putting coach (Dave Stockton). But what about a secret weapon?
On Sunday in England, McIlroy said that he might need a “couple of practice rounds” with Augusta National member Jeff Knox in advance of next year’s tournament. Knox, a two-time Georgia state amateur champion, teed it up with McIlroy in the third round this year after an odd number of players (51) made the 36-hole cut. Playing as a marker, Knox nipped him by a shot.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen on Augusta’s greens,” McIlroy said at the Open. “I might have to take a couple of trips up there before next year and have a couple of practice rounds with him.”
That news apparently made its way across the pond to Knox, who said he would welcome playing a role in a potentially historic moment.
When reached Tuesday by Press Association Sport, Knox said, “We corresponded on that after the Masters and hopefully that will work out. I’m not sure he needs a lot of my help – he’s the No. 2 player in the world – but I am happy to be able to help in any way I can.”
OK, so he’s not about to become the latest member of Rory’s team, but just how much does Knox – who owns the course record (61) from the members’ tees – think he could help McIlroy?
“I think in general there are a couple of greens out there you have to be careful with, or know they break a different way than it might appear,” he said, according to the report. “I know that place pretty well, and if I can just help (save) half a shot a day, that could be the difference. I would love to help him win a green jacket.”