Rory McIlroy at the Masters is inevitably going to create juicy storylines, regardless of how he plays. A win, and the career Grand Slam is in tow. He can dispel some of his biggest golf demons.
Anything short of that is deemed to many as a failure, and likely to him, as well.
I’m willing to give Rory credit for his incredible resume at Augusta National, even if it hasn’t paid off in a green jacket yet. He’s a great DFS pick with a high floor, even if you aren’t confident he gets it done.
I’m in that camp as I see the four-time major champion needing to wait until Los Angeles Country Club in June to try to get to major number five.
He’ll be a factor, though. McIlroy has been in great form of late with a win late in 2022 at the CJ Cup and in 2023 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman also took T-2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and was solo third his last time out a couple weeks ago at the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship.
McIlroy went 3-0-0 in group play with a 3 & 1 win over Scott Stallings, a 2 & 1 win over Denny McCarthy, and a 3 & 2 win over Keegan Bradley. Not exactly a murderer’s row of a group, but every match at this event can be a coin flip, so a sweep is impressive however you slice it.
McIlroy then outlasted Lucas Herbert 2 Up and Xander Schauffele 1 Up before allowing Cameron Young to erase a 1 Down deficit through 16 holes by ousting McIlroy in 19.
McIlroy got off the mat to beat defending champion and top seed Scottie Scheffler in the third-place match, 2 & 1. It’d be fun to see those two duking it out again just two weeks later.
The 33-year-old has made 12 of 14 cuts at the Masters. While he was never legitimately in contention to win on Sunday last year, McIlroy holed a bunker shot on the 72nd hole that helped him finish in solo second place three shots behind Scheffler.
It took him until his sixth tournament appearance to finally log a top-10, when he took T-8th in 2014. Since then, McIlroy owns six more top-10s. Half are top-fives.
"“I’m very comfortable with this golf course. I think one of the great things about this course is it forces you to be creative and I like that side of the game,” ASAP Sports transcribed McIlroy before the 2019 Masters. “I like to see shots. I like to visualize. So you know, the massive tall pines, the contrast between the green grass and the white bunkers, the yellow flagsticks, there’s so many, you know, so many things to look at and be aware of and it paints a picture for you.”"
McIlroy may not mind if it’s rainy this week. He’s historically played well on soft courses.
McIlroy leads the PGA Tour in average driving distance (326.6). He’s also tops in going-for-the-green percentage (79.73%), something fewer guys may be able to do if the ball isn’t rolling as far.