Masters 2019: Rory McIlroy convinced he has game to land Green Jacket

2019 Masters
Date: 11-14 April Venue: Augusta National
Coverage: Watch highlights of the first two days before live and uninterrupted coverage of the final rounds on BBC Two, with up to four live streams online. Live radio and text commentary of all four days on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full details

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy insists he has the game to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta as he approaches this week's Masters.

The Northern Irishman's 10 attempts to land the Green Jacket include his 2011 meltdown, when a closing 80 saw him lose a four-shot final-round lead.

For the first time since 2011, he played in the final group last year but finished six behind Patrick Reed.

"One of these years, I'm sure I'll get myself into position," said McIlroy.

"Whether it's this year, or 10 years down the line, hopefully I'll capitalise on it," added the world number three in an interview which will be shown in full in Wednesday's Masters 2019 Preview on BBC Two at 23:15 BST.

In addition to chasing the Grand Slam, McIlroy hopes his recent obvious improvement on the greens will help him land a first major since the 2014 US PGA.

Victory this week would see McIlroy become only the sixth player to win all four modern majors - the Masters, the US Open, The Open and the US PGA Championship - with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods having achieved the feat.

Despite his 2011 disappointment and the closing two-over-par 74 which saw him fade to a share of fifth 12 months ago, McIlroy says his five straight top-10 finishes at Augusta "proves I have the game for it".

His best Augusta finish is his fourth spot in 2015, when he was six behind winner Jordan Spieth.

The former world number one's impressive victory at the Players Championship at Sawgrass in March - as he ended a 12-month winless stretch - should bolster his morale for this year's first major.

"I've had four years of going to Augusta knowing it's the one, whether it's the Grand Slam or the one major I haven't won," added the 29-year-old.

"I think I've handled it OK. I haven't won and I didn't play at my best in the final round last year, but I've had four top-10s in a row since going there [chasing the Grand Slam].

"I don't want to make predictions but I'd like to think that if I'm going to go back to Augusta over the next 10 or 15 years, at least a quarter or a third of those times I'm going to give myself a pretty good chance to win."

Rory McIlroy embraces playing partner Patrick Reed after the US player's Masters triumph last year
Rory McIlroy fell away on the final day last year after missing a short eagle putt at the second

McIlroy denies that last year's disappointment, when a missed short eagle putt at the second seemed to kill his momentum on the final day, has left him with particular scars.

"To be one shot behind with 15 holes to play, you think you're in there with a real chance.

"I let a few shots get away at the end of the front nine and I never really got myself back into contention after that.

"It was a disappointing day but I wouldn't say it was one that got away because there's plenty of tournaments I've let slip and there's plenty of tournaments when I've capitalised on my position."

McIlroy insists he was actually "encouraged" by his 2018 Masters performance, which was followed later in the season by a share of second place at The Open, two shots behind Francesco Molinari.

"I got myself into the final group at Augusta again after seven years," said McIlroy.

"I finished second at The Open. I had a really good chance to win at Carnoustie but people don't remember that.

"All I can do is take the positives from that and feel like I've made some strides in the right direction. I got myself into contention in two majors."

And McIlroy maintains he will treat this week's major "just like any other event".

"I'm not going to be that hyped up about it. I'm going to go out and try to play four solids rounds of golf," he said.

"I've probably put myself under too much pressure the last couple of years to try and win the Masters.

"It's hard enough to win any week out here on tour so I'm only making it harder and more difficult to win the one I really want to - so I'm trying not to think about it too much."


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