Rory McIlroy is looking forward to a fall Masters.
Perhaps it's because the 30-year-old McIlroy knows it could help him finally complete the career Grand Slam.
After six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus told Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" last week that the adjusted professional golf calendar, which now has the Masters set to be played Nov. 12-15, will "be to Rory's favor" because "he seems to play better in the fall," McIlroy agreed.
“I feel like there’s anticipation going to Augusta, the first big event of the year. There’s all this hype,” said McIlroy while appearing with Michelle Wie on Nike Golf's Instagram Live feed on Sunday. “I don’t think it’ll feel like that this year. I think it’ll feel a little bit different, which I’m looking forward to.
"It’s going to be a different Masters, and personally, selfishly, maybe that’s what I need to get the [green] jacket.”
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, has been shut out in 11 trips to Augusta National. He held the 54-hole lead in 2011 before carding 80 in the final round. However, his overall Masters record, albeit lacking a victory, is strong, with McIlroy posting five top-10s in his past six starts.
And like Nicklaus said, McIlroy also seems to play better in the second half of the year. Nine of his 18 career PGA Tour victories have come in August or later. Conversely, he has won just three times on Tour before April. Two of his major victories came at the PGA Championship in August, and he's also captured the FedExCup twice in the month of September.
Oh, and don't forget the Ryder Cup, which McIlroy has gone 11-9-4 in while helping Europe to four wins in five tries.
The revised schedule, which is subject to chance considering the unknown nature of the coronavirus pandemic, slots the Masters about a month after a busy stretch that includes the Tour Championship (Sept. 4-7), U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20) and Ryder Cup (Sept. 25-27).
“November is going to be different," McIlroy added. "It’s going to be cold. The course can play very long. I mean, it plays long already, but it could play very long. The greens might not be as fast as they usually are in April, depending on the moisture. Obviously, they can do whatever they want with the course with SubAir and everything, but I think it’ll be a different feel as well. It’s the back end of the year as two of the majors have already been played – hopefully, the Ryder Cup’s already been played. People might be in their routines and in their flow a little bit.”