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Wednesday May 29, 2024

McIlroy confident in game and equipment entering Masters

By AFP
April 02, 2023

AUGUSTA: Rory McIlroy delivered an epic tee shot and some clutch putts with new equipment in his final Masters tuneup, boosting hopes of a victory to complete a career Grand Slam.

World number two McIlroy, a four-time major champion, only needs a green jacket to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen with a triumph at every major tournament.

"My game’s in really good shape," McIlroy said. "Just keep it ticking over and work on the shots I need for Augusta National and away we go." The 33-year-old from Northern Ireland has not won a major title since the 2014 PGA Championship, but produced his best major showing since then with a solo second behind Scottie Scheffler last year at Augusta National, the best of his four top-10 major finishes in 2022.

McIlroy earned bragging rights over Scheffler last week by beating him in the third-place match at the WGC Match Play Championship, completing a strong week of shotmaking.

"It was something to really build on going into Augusta," McIlroy said. "Really bullish on where my game is, especially knowing what’s around the corner."

After missing the cut at The Players Championship, McIlroy tested a new driver and putter at the Match Play with an eye on Thursday’s start of the 87th Masters.

"For the first week out I thought both ends of the bag, the driver and the putter, worked pretty well," McIlroy said. "The driver’s definitely better. I thought the putter looked pretty good for the most part.

"All in all I thought most aspects of the game were in good shape." A prime example was a jaw-dropping drive McIlroy struck at the 375-yard, par-4 18th hole that landed within four feet of the hole.