Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

McIlroy in search of elusive Masters

- Joy Chakravart­y sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

AUGUSTA: Here’s a light bulb moment for Rory McIlroy. Thomas Alva Edison, the man who dispelled darkness from our lives with the invention of the electric bulb, is said to have succeeded after failing more than a thousand times.

Well… the 34-year-old McIlroy may not have that much time, but his quest for a first Masters Green Jacket, which would also complete his career grand slam, continues. The travails of the sentimenta­l favourite are becoming as much a part of Masters folklore, as some of the successes we have seen in the past.

Ever since that morbid Sunday in 2011 when he hooked his tee shot into oblivion on the 10th hole, and along with that his chances to make Masters his first major win, it’s been a grind for the Northern Irishman.

To be fair, McIlroy has been brilliant at Augusta National Golf Club. In 15 starts, he has 12 cuts and seven top-10s. But he hasn’t been able to sustain that brilliance over the four rounds.

Since 2014, the year he won the Open and the PGA Championsh­ip, the Masters has become as elusive as the Holy Grail for the world No.2.

He has tried various things in his build-up to the tournament — he has played fewer tournament­s last year, and he has played more tournament­s this year. He has read books with deep insight, and sought out psychologi­sts who can peek deep into his mind. He has concentrat­ed hard on his weaknesses (extended putting sessions with Brad Faxon and Phil Kenyon), and he has tried to elevate his strengths further. It has all proved futile so far. With his second place in 2022 to a runaway Scottie Scheffler the best finish of his Masters career — and that included his all-time low round of 64 on Sunday — McIlroy is itching to go one step better.

The changes this week include a trip to Las Vegas to hook up with Butch Harmon, the former coach of Tiger Woods, and coming as late as Tuesday afternoon to the golf course and limiting his pretournam­ent press conference to barely 10 minutes.

“This is my 16th Masters, so I feel like I’ve done it quite a few different ways, and I guess just trying to bring a little bit of normalcy into what I sort of try to do week in, week out,” McIlroy said.

“I play 25 weeks a year, and there’s no point in doing anything different this week compared to other weeks. I wanted to play quite a bit leading up to this just to feel like my game was sharp or, if it wasn’t sharp, to try to get it in the best shape possible. I feel like I made a couple of good strides in that direction last week in Texas (finished third in Valero Texas Open).

McIlroy is playing his first two rounds in the company of world No1 Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.*

 ?? AP ?? Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.
AP Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India