AUGUSTA, Ga. – Be it metaphor or merely coincidence, the imagery was impossible to ignore.
Just as world No. 2 Rory McIlroy was putting the finishing touches on a closing 69 at the Masters on Sunday, world No. 1 Tiger Woods was setting out in search of his fifth green jacket. The game’s top two players headed in distinctly opposite directions.
For McIlroy, a third-round 79 dashed whatever hopes he had of landing his first Masters title, but the Ulsterman was content with the progress he has made with his game the last two weeks.
“I didn’t quite have it yesterday and you have to be on your game for 72 holes here,” said McIlroy, who was tied for 30th when he finished his round.
McIlroy finished runner-up at the Texas Open, a last-minute addition to his schedule after a pedestrian start to the season, and seemed to have rediscovered the confidence that led him to his second Grand Slam title at last year’s PGA Championship.
Although he continued to say he is close to his old form, McIlroy conceded that he still has work to do.
“My misses have been wide; that’s what I need to sort out,” he said. “No. 11 yesterday (which he triple bogeyed), I’m 20 yards wide with my drive and in the trees and have to chip out. That’s been the difference.”
McIlroy plans to take the next two weeks off and pick up his season at the Wells Fargo Championship.