Take your medicine to tame Augusta, says McIlroy

The Northern Irishman led the tournament going into the final round in 2011 but carded an ugly 80 to blow his chances.


After top-10 finishes in the last three years, however, he believes he now has the experience to deal with any conditions at Augusta and he received advice this week from six-times Masters champion Jack Nicklaus.

“He said to me that he took on too much a couple of times and it cost him a couple of Green Jackets,” McIlroy told reporters on Tuesday.

“He said, it is a golf course that can tempt you into doing a little bit too much.”

McIlroy remembered a costly error of judgement on the 11th hole of his third round at Augusta last year when he drove the ball into the pine straw bordering the fairway.

“I’m trying to hit this low hook around and catch the hill, and trying to get it up on to the green and hit this heroic shot, and it goes in the water and I make a six. That’s the last thing I needed,” he said.

“Even if you make five, five is better than six. Take the water out of play. Just little things like that where the golf course tempts you to do something. So it’s just a matter of being smart, taking your medicine when you have to and moving on.”

McIlroy, 27, has had a quiet start to the season, missing several weeks due to a rib injury, but he has enjoyed his low-key preparations for the year’s first major.

“The break allowed me to work on a few things in my game that whenever you’re playing week-in, week-out you may neglect a little bit,” he said.

“So I spent a good bit of time around the short-game area and the putting green. Obviously, it’s of huge importance this week to have your short game as sharp as possible,” McIlroy added.

The world number two, who won the last of his four major titles in 2014, has played 99 practice holes at Augusta over the last two weeks.

“Physically, I’m fine. I’ve played the golf course enough, I feel. I’m ready to go.”

(Editing by Neville Dalton)