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Rory McIlroy is hoping for his third golfing major.
Rory McIlroy is hoping for his third golfing major.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Gay

Rory McIlroy: Masters is the one tournament that I covet most

The Holywood native and world number two has been buoyed by a strong showing at the Houston Open.
Apr 10th 2013, 3:13 PM 3,624 30

ON THE EVE of the 2013 Masters, Rory McIlroy has revealed that the major is the one he covets most in the golfing world.

The Holywood native, speaking to RTÉ’s Greg Allen, expressed his belief that he has hit form at the right time for an assault on the game’s most famous 18 holes, at Augusta National.

McIlroy was a late entry into the Texas Open last weekend and put together a fine closing round that pushed eventual winner Martin Laird all the way. The upturn in fortunes is in contrast to the difficult start the world number two had to his season.

“The last two weeks, I’ve learned a lot from them,” he said. “At Houston, I felt my game was nearly there. I just needed to put it all together, to bring it out. I started to see some signs on the golf course that I hadn’t seen all this year. That was really pleasing.

To get myself in contention like I did down the stretch, to chase Martin down, I was really happy about that. Knowing that the swing holds up under pressure, that I can hole putts under pressure, it’s a nice feeling to have coming into this week.”

McIroy’s mini slump led to Tiger Woods overtaking him at the top of the world rankings and questions being asked about the Northern Irishman’s form and commitment, especially when he quit mid-round at the Honda Classic a month ago.

He told Allen that he was initially bothered by the increased speculation over his game but has since let it wash over him.

“I try not to read into it too much or let it get to me,” he said. “I know if I’m working on the right things or progressing with my game, then all those questions will soon go away.”

‘I’ll have my chance’

Woods will tee-off tomorrow as the bookies’ favourite for the Masters, with major winners such as Phil Mickelson and Charl Schwartzel eyeing success. McIlroy is not daunted by the world-class field or a course that quite literally toyed with his emotions in 2011 when he imploded from a winning position on the last day.

His second-place finish in Texas is all the encouragement he needs and a third major win is on the agenda.

“That’s always the plan every year,” he explained, “to make sure you’re ready for Augusta. OK, I might have done it a little later than most but I feel like I’m in good shape coming into this week so it’s just about going out and playing your shots. I’m happy with where my game is at and I’m happy that it has happened at the right time.” The 23-year-old added:

This is probably the one that I covet more than most other tournaments. I if want to become a great of this game you’ve got to win a Green Jacket or two, or three, whatever. It would be nice to start this week.

“I know if I play my game, play smart around here, I’ll have my chance.”

You can listen to the full interview on the RTÉ Player here>>>

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