Rory McIlroy is trying to stay relaxed as he bids to complete the career Grand Slam this week in the 2016 Masters at Augusta National
For the second time, Rory McIlroy has arrived at Augusta National in an attempt to complete the career Grand Slam.
He won the U.S. Open in 2011, the PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014, and The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014.
As it was this time last year, the 26-year-old Northern Irishman just has the Masters to go to join only five players who have completed the Grand Slam of the majors era: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
The annual past champions’ dinner that Augusta National stages tonight is a select crowd, but the Grand Slam winners make the most select club of them all.
In a bid to earn membership McIlroy’s focus this week is on finding the balance between thorough preparation and preservation on energy and emotion.
“I am very happy with where the game is and just looking forward to getting going on Thursday and not trying to put too much emphasis on it or too much pressure on myself,” said McIlroy at Augusta National on Tuesday. “I will just try and go out and enjoy it.
“I really feel like I play my best golf when I’m more relaxed, when I’m having fun out there and not overdoing it, not overthinking it.
“You can obviously relax too much but then on the flip side you can consume yourself with it, which I don’t think is a good idea either.”
For the first time since turning professional, McIlroy has not made an early-season visit to Augusta National prior to Masters week and he is trying to keep a low profile by missing the annual Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.
He knows that history beckons if he can summon the kind of form he found over the summer of 2014 when he won The Open, Bridgestone invitational and PGA Championship in consecutive starts.
“I’ve got a great game for [Augusta],” said the former world No. 1 and current No. 3. “I hit it high. I can land the ball soft. I’ve got decent touch around the greens.
“The only thing that’s probably held me back here is putting. I can definitely win here, I know that. I just haven’t quite been able to get myself over the hurdle yet.”
And as for coping with the pressure of being one tournament away from completing the Grand Slam, he said: “Someone once told me that pressure is for tyres.”
Robin Barwick travelled to the 2016 Masters with Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is global sponsor of the 2016 Masters Tournament