McIlroy trying to minimize career Grand Slam pressure


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy isn’t desperate to win the Masters. But he’s also not content to copy the same routine that’s produced less than desirable results at Augusta National over the last seven years.

Rory McIlroy is attempting to complete the career Grand Slam. Everyone knows it. There’s no avoiding it. McIlroy can’t escape questions about his pursuit, and, frankly, he’s been great dealing with everything that goes along with such rarified air.

But this year, something had to change.

For the first time, McIlroy never took a scouting mission to Augusta National. He feels like he’s over-prepared in the past, put so much emphasis on this one particular week that it’s produced poor results.

“I really feel like I play my best golf when I’m more relaxed, when I’m having fun out there and I’m not overdoing it, not overthinking it,” McIlroy said Tuesday. “It’s a very special event and obviously it is different in its own way, but I don’t want to treat it any differently.”

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So rather than making multiple trips to Augusta in the previous months, McIlroy has opted for a more stress-free approach. On Monday, he played a match with Englishman Chris Wood. On Tuesday he played a fourball match with Andy Sullivan, Jamie Donaldson and Bernd Wiesberger. Sullivan stopped after nine holes and Matt Fitzpatrick partnered with McIlroy for the remaining nine.

“I’m trying not to hit so many shots off tees into greens, around the greens,” McIlroy said. “I think there’s a balance. You can obviously relax too much, but then on the flip side, you can consume yourself with it, which I don’t think’s a good idea either.”

The results will provide us answers to McIlroy’s newfound approach.

“I feel like I’ve got everything I need to become a Masters champion,” he said. “But I think each and every year that passes that I don’t, it will become increasingly more difficult. So there’s no time like the present to get it done.”