Tiger Woods encourages Rory McIlroy to finish his Grand Slam at the Masters in 2023 at Augusta
Tiger Woods, a five-time winner of the Masters, thinks Rory McIlroy will eventually triumph at Augusta National.
This year marks the Northern Irishman’s ninth attempt to complete the career Grand Slam and his 15th attempt to win the single major that has so far eluded him.
Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion, said: “Rory is equipped to win because he is talented, competitive, and has a solid strategy.
He will complete the feat and achieve a career Grand Slam whether it be this year or the following.
Woods, who claimed his fifth Green Jacket this year, continued: “In order to succeed at this golf course, a lot of things must go right, and Rory has demonstrated through the years that he has mastered the game of this particular course. All you have to do is know how to play.
“He has been there. Although he had a terrific year and elevated himself, I believe it is only a matter of time.”
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McIlroy has stated that his preparation for Augusta will depend on his ability to isolate himself from “outside noise” and remain focused.
The world number two stated that he doesn’t frequently read news items or watch the build-up to the year’s first major on television in an interview with BBC Sport Northern Ireland.
When asked if he finds it simple to shield himself from rumors about his potential to finally win at Augusta, McIlroy responded: “Well, over the past several years I have just had to do that here. Well, it’s kind of like a digital detox. I spend less time looking at my phone.
“It’s actually a good way to escape from everything because whenever I get home, I’m almost never watching anything related to golf; instead, Poppy (his daughter) frequently picks a movie.
“During the week, I make an effort to isolate myself. It’s the only method I’m aware of to protect myself from the noise.”
Over the years, McIlroy and Augusta have had a contentious relationship. In 2011, he had a four-shot lead going into the final round but ended up shooting an eight-over 80, eliminating himself from contention.
While he had another major near-miss at The Open, he enters Augusta with four victories since June and a third-place finish in his most recent start, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, where he finished second behind Scottie Scheffler after shooting a final-round 64 last year.
He declared, “I’m thrilled and also fairly confident.”
“My performance seems to be improving. I performed well at the Match Play tournament and learned a few things when playing well at The Players after struggling there.
“I’ve got a strong game. There is nothing I feel I should change about this situation. If I continue to play the way I have over the last 18 months, I will have a decent chance.”
Only five players—Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods—have completed the career Grand Slam, and McIlroy acknowledges he gets more anxious at Augusta than he does at any other course at the thought of joining that select group.
Having played here before, Rory McIlroy commented, “I definitely feel more nervous on the first tee here than I do at any other tournament.” McIlroy won the last of his four major championships in 2014.
“But I imagine that other players would have the same sentiment. The previous major championship was fought eight or nine months ago, but this tournament has had such a long build-up.
There are more jitters on the first tee because of the enormous build-up for this hole compared to the others.