AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy was in contention at the Masters, looking for the final piece of his career Grand Slam puzzle, and sputtered mightily Sunday while playing with eventual champion Patrick Reed.
The Reed vs. Rory hype built from their Ryder Cup singles match two years ago in Minnesota never mounted to much. McIlroy shot a final-round 74 at Augusta National, a score that was better than only four players in the final round.
“Look, it is, of course it’s frustrating,” McIlroy, 28, said. “It’s hard to take any positives from it right now. At least I put myself in the position. That’s all I wanted to do.
“The last four years I’ve had top-10s, but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there. I didn’t quite do enough. But, you know, come back again next year and try.”
To make matters worse, McIlroy had himself in a position to make a run extremely early in the round. He blew his first tee shot of the day way right but still managed par, then had a 4-footer for eagle on the par-5 second hole that slid by the hole. McIlroy bogeyed two of the next three holes, added another on the par-5 eight hole and the wheels were mostly off at that point.
There was still a sliver of hope over the last few holes, but McIlroy shot 1 over on the back nine to end at 74.
“I’ll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have potentially done better,” he said. “I played some great golf yesterday. I just didn’t continue that golf into today.”
So McIlroy’s career Grand Slam is now on hold for another 51 weeks. Many still believe McIlroy will win a green jacket at some point. His record here is too stellar to think he won’t join the Champions Dinner at some point. His best chance to win was seven years ago until he blew his tee shot on the 10th hole left into the cabins in the final round. And he’s finished inside the top 10 here each of the last five years now, including this year.
“One hundred percent,” McIlroy said when asked if he believes if he will win the Masters at some point. “I play this golf course well. I just haven’t played it well enough at the right time.”