Rory McIlroy arrives at Augusta National wearing the green jacket, the only thing standing between him and a career Grand Slam. In doing so, the Northern Irishman would join an elite club of just six who have achieved the feat.
McIlroy has long been touted as a future Masters champion and in previous tournaments expectation rather than ability has seemingly hampered his chances. That said, it has a trick up its sleeve this year in the form of a new golf ball.
Speaking to Damon Hack on the Golf Channel, the 32-year-old revealed: “Friday [at the Valero Texas Open] was a good sort of litmus test for that. I just came back to a golf ball which is a bit more stable in the wind, a bit less spin, so getting that back was good. I’m excited about it, I think it’s going to be really good for me.”
McIlroy has a full TaylorMade setup in his bag, including the TP5x golf ball. It’s not yet clear exactly which ball it will use now, but from practice round footage it looks like it’s still some kind of TaylorMade TP5x, possibly a previous iteration or a new prototype . Either way, with winds of up to 30mph forecast this week, stability and less spin for a player who can generate a lot seems like a good thing.
Along with a new golf ball, McIlroy has a new mindset about how best to compete at Augusta National: “Just patience, discipline, don’t do big numbers,” he said. he stated on the way to getting into contention on Sunday. “It’s very, for me anyway, it’s a very negative way of thinking, but it’s the way to play around this place. You don’t have to do anything spectacular.”
While the four-time Major champion thinks you don’t have to do anything spectacular to win at Augusta National, his Masters record is impressive. He has recorded six top-10 finishes in his last eight appearances; including a career fourth place finish in 2015 – won by Jordan Spieth.
McIlroy also admitted to spending time with Tiger Woods at his Florida home. The Northern Irishman said: “He hits well. He hits well. He’s snappy. It’s just the physical demand to play 72 holes here this week.” Woods will take part in the tournament just 14 months after the car accident that nearly ended his career.