Rory McIlroy is not giving up joining the elite bunch of golfers to win the grand slam of golf despite seeing another golden chance of winning the Masters—the only major missing from his collection—fall by the wayside.
McIlroy had started the final round of this year’s Augusta showpiece in second place, but just like in 2011 when he suffered a Sunday meltdown and threw away a four-shot lead, he couldn’t get the job done.
Starting three shots behind eventual champion Patrick Reed, McIlroy had early chances to tie the lead but ended up signing for a two-over par round that left him in tied fifth.
Despite the disappointment of again failing to fire under the intense pressure cooker situation at Augusta, the four-time champion still believes a Masters green jacket is in the cards for him.
It is the one prize in golf he longs for in the hope of joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only golfers to have achieved the grand slam of majors.
“I think 100 percent I can come back and win here,” was the defiant message from McIlroy, who won three of golf’s majors with successes in the 2011 U.S. Open, the 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship and the 2014 Open Championship.
The fourth place he achieved in 2015 remains his best Masters result, but he has finished in the top 10 in the last five years. It’s now a question of whether he can get over the line.
A good track record
“I’ve played in two final groups in the last seven years, I’ve had five top 10s, I play this golf course well. For the last four years I’ve had top 10s but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. I got myself there, I didn’t quite do enough, but I’ll come back next year and try again.
“I played probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played here, it just wasn’t meant to be. Of course it’s frustrating and it’s hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in a position, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.”
There has been some stinging criticism of McIlroy, however, with question marks over the Northern Irishman ever achieving his Masters dream. Former world number one David Duval was among them.
“I was surprised and I expected a lot more from Rory,” said Duval. “It goes to show that nobody is exempt from the pressures and the crunch of trying to win major championships, let alone complete the career grand slam.
“You know the Masters is going to be a tough one for him. They are going to keep stacking up as the years go by as he doesn’t win and that’ll make it tougher and tougher. And there’s no one to say that he will win one for sure. Yeah, we all say he will, maybe we all believe he will, but that doesn’t mean he definitely will.”