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McIlroy: Missing the cut in Texas beneficial to my Masters challenge

Rory McIlroy insists his game is in a good place, despite missing the cut at his final tournament...



McIlroy: Missing the cut in Te...
Golf

McIlroy: Missing the cut in Texas beneficial to my Masters challenge

Rory McIlroy insists his game is in a good place, despite missing the cut at his final tournament before The Masters. 

He's arrived at Augusta for the 14th time, but still seeking a first green jacket of his career.

Perhaps wishing to tempt fate, McIlroy conducted his first press conference of Masters week wearing a top not too dissimilar in colour to the blazer handed over on Sunday night in The Butler Cabin.

The County Down golfer needs all the stars to align this week, as his form is barely lukewarm.

McIlroy missed the cut at last week's Valero Texas Open, his final outing before the trip to Georgia, but he feels that could actually work in his favour this week.

"I think it was beneficial in the end. I learned a few things," he said, "Like you always learn more from disappointments or from times where you don't play so well.

"So I thought, look, if there's a cut to miss, it wasn't a bad one to miss. I got home, did two really good days of practice on Saturday and Sunday, and actually felt a lot better about where things were heading up here Sunday evening.

"Yeah, if I had made the cut on the number in San Antonio and played through the weekend, I wouldn't have had as much time to practice as I did over the weekend. So I felt like that was pretty beneficial."

McIlroy is definitely trying to accentuate the positive ahead of his latest Masters tilt.

He's spoken of loosening himself from getting too technical about his game, and how being unspectacular can unlock a decent score around Augusta National.

McIlroy's had only two top-10 finishes so far on this year's tour, which includes his victory at the CJ Cup back in October.

Regardless, he's feeling optimistic about his chances this week.

Asked about his overall game, McIlroy replied, "It feels in good shape.

"I think it's felt better than the results have maybe suggested the last few weeks. Like the big key here, you look at all the previous winners, especially over the last five to ten years, their iron play and their approach play has separated them from the field. That's a really important part of your play this week.

He added, "It beats you into going for flags that you shouldn't go for. So, again, it's about being very disciplined with your approach play, knowing that, if you hit a wedge to 20 or 30 feet, that's okay.

"Middle of the greens, you hole a few putts, that's what it's about. It's about hitting greens. It's about playing to the fat part of the green, being somewhat conservative.

"I think that's what wins you Masters. You see the highlights of people hitting heroic golf shots around here, but that's just one golf shot.

"The rest of the time, they're doing the right things and being patient and being disciplined, and that's what wins you green jackets."

With all of the attention on the 'Will he-Won't he' saga around Tiger Woods' participation this week, McIlroy even feels he's flown under the radar to a degree this week.

And he wouldn't be surprised to see Woods tee it up on Thursday morning.

"I think in terms of the competitive nature of it, if he's in the field or not, I don't think it really changes much," said McIlroy, "You're trying to focus on yourself, and he can't stop you shooting a 67 if you play well. It's not like any other sport. So I don't think that changes much.

"But would I be... I wouldn't be surprised. I've spent a little bit of time with him at home, and the golf is there.

"He's hitting it well. He's chipping well. He's sharp. It's just the physical demand of getting around 72 holes here this week. That's probably the question mark.

"But the golf game is there. So would I be surprised? No, I'm not surprised at anything he does anymore."

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Augusta Masters Rory McIlroy The Masters Tiger Woods US Masters

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