rory's stories

Rory McIlroy's rollercoaster Masters appearances, ranked from worst to best

At times, it’s been very painful to watch. But catharsis is a good thing.

IT’S GOLF’S MOST famous prize, it’s most-hyped tournament. But in the seven years Rory McIlroy has been going to Augusta for the season’s opening Major, it remains the only one of the four he has failed to win. Some of his attempts have been closer than others. Time to get his green on.

7. Seven over par and cut missed in 2010

McIlroy’s second trip to Augusta was, by any measure, his worst. The Hollywood star crashed out on Friday – his only missed cut at the venue.

Masters Golf 'That can't be right' AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The opening 74 was backed up by a 77 and he made tracks before the weekend with $10,000 in his pocket. Not bad, clearly, for two days’ work. But definitely McIlroy’s worst return from this tournament.

6. Five over par and 40th place in 2012

Masters Golf Don't look back, Rory, it doesn't look good. Charlie Riedel Charlie Riedel

Even though he had a Major under his belt in 2012, the phrase ‘Masters meltdown’ was still ringing in McIlroy’s ears and he struggled once the field was cut. A solid opening left him four under par and just a shot off the lead after two rounds, but he fell away with a 77 and 76.

5.  Two over and 25th place in 2013

The worrying trend of the Saturday slide continued for the Down man until three years ago. He wasn’t tearing up trees with Jason Day, but he was only four shots off the lead when the cut was made.

French Open Preview Tennis Happier times with Caroline Wozniacki. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Then, his second-worst round on the course, a Saturday 79. Well out of contention, he rallied to card a 69 on Sunday, but it was way too late to challenge Adam Scott.

4. Back on track to take eighth place in 2014

There’s something very satisfying about a score of par after four long rounds of golf. You know you’ve been in a battle. His high score of the weekend came on Friday, a 77 that took him well out of striking distance of Bubba Watson and co. on a course not giving up scores easy.

Masters Golf Rory's Friday visit to the azaleas on the 13th. David J. Phillip David J. Phillip

Saturday, McIlroy was solid, shooting a second 71 and, for the second year in a row, a Sunday 69 to give him his first top 10 finish at Augusta.

3. A debut two-under in 2009


Almost two years a pro, but still not 20, Young McIlroy went out and shot what is still his most consistent rounds at Augusta. Angel Cabrera, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell made it a dramatic playoff finish, but wee Rory just kept ticking over nicely with a 72 and 73 taking him through the cut, before he whittled his score back under par with a Saturday 71 and Sunday 70.

2. A late burst to twelve under and fourth in 2015

McIlroy’s first three Sundays at The Masters were all 70 or (way) over. But since 2013, he had been in the 60s. Last year, he recorded his best final round – a sublime 66 – to give him his best ever Augusta finish.

Masters Golf See ya, Tiger. David J. Phillip David J. Phillip

Unfortunately, his solid opening 71s were absolutely blown away by Jordan Spieth and even a Saturday 68 left him 10 shots shy of the American going into the final day.

1. Four under par and 15th place (despite that infamous meltdown) in 2011


The above video is what everyone remembers about Charl Schwartzel’s Masters win in 2011. Rory McIlroy melts down and gets swallowed whole by chasing pack as soon as he began coughing up shots. But what led up to that was an imperious display of pure talent. Pure McIlroy

Masters Golf AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Having missed the cut the previous year, McIlroy stormed out of the traps with a Thursday 65. The follow-up 69 was barely slowing down and his Saturday 70 teed him up with a four-shot lead going into the final day.

An imperious wire-to-wire victory would have been incredibly sweet, but the nightmare that befell him after the turn has, in a way, been the making of McIlroy. Sure, he’d like to have a green jacket in the wardrobe, but rather than be defined by the image of him en route to a triple bogey on the 10th in 2011, he has gone on to win four Majors since that moment, including a US Open two months later.

There’s only one missing from the collection.

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