Rory McIlroy ready to make history at Augusta and become golf superstar

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The World No 4’s start to the season, capped off by his win at the Players Championship, has been exemplary. In six tournaments this year, his worst finish has been sixth.

The secret – apart from his improved putting – has been, he says, to put golf in a box so it is part of his life but not all of it. This week, for example, his priority has been home furnishings as he redesigns the Florida mansion he bought from Ernie Els last year.

Balance is all very well but the outlook will be put to the ultimate test as the Masters, which starts on April 11, hones into view. As the missing piece of his career Grand Slam jigsaw it is the biggest tournament in his calendar every year.

He has finished in the top ten for the past five years and had a great chance in 2018 in the final group on the last day with eventual winner Patrick Reed only to fade with a 74.

He should have won it as far back as 2010 when he took a four-shot lead into the final round only to blow it with a final round 80.

Augusta National suits his game but with each passing year the psychological hurdle appears to grow.

McIlroy told The Cut, The BBC Golf Podcast this week that his intention is to build a mental fortress around himself ahead of the tournament this time.

“If I can go into the first Major of the year with the same golf game and the same attitude I feel like I’ll be right there. It’s just a matter of keeping going with what I’m doing, deflect the noise, not listen to anything, not read anything and sort of build my own little world around me,” he said.

“I’m very comfortable with where my game is. I’m in contention every week.

I’m playing better golf than the majority of people out there. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. “

Social media is out, as is golf on the TV. He will watch it but only with the sound turned down. He does not want any extraneous noise inside his head.

Whatever it takes.

The Masters for McIlroy is the path to golf’s throne room. Only five other men – Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen – have won all four Major Championships.

If McIlroy completes the set he will be the first player for a generation to do so. He is already a star of the sport; win at Augusta and he will become a superstar.

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