Rory McIlroy chalked up his disappointing performance at the Masters this weekend to the overwhelming pressure he feels to complete the career grand slam.
After trailing 36-hole leader Jordan Spieth by one shot heading into the weekend, the four-time major winner shot 77-71 the rest of the way, falling into a tie for tenth six shots behind eventual champion Danny Willett.
“I’ve been in position before and I haven’t got the job done when I needed to and I don’t think that’s anything to do with my game, I think that’s more me mentally,” McIlroy said. “I’m trying to deal with the pressure of it and the thrill of the achievement if it were to happen. I think that’s the thing that’s really holding me back.”
McIlroy won the British Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014. Combined with victories at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 and 2014 PGA Championships, that title put McIlroy a green jacket away from becoming the sixth player to complete the coveted career grand slam.
Despite a career-best fourth place at last year’s tournament, McIlroy’s bid for the record books fell short once again.
“Once I overcome that mental hurdle that I’m struggling with at the minute, then I know how to play this course. I’ve played this course very well before and I can string good rounds together here, but it’s just a matter of doing it.”
If nothing else, McIlroy certainly hasn’t lost his determination to eventually slip into the green jacket.
Of all the majors, McIlroy explained, the Masters remains “the one I want to win more than anything else.”