European Tour

McIlroy has Masters on his mind

Rory McIlroy (AFP)
Rory McIlroy (AFP)

Dubai - Rory McIlroy loves being part of the conversation, especially when it comes to the Masters.

The world number two, who is defending his Dubai Desert Classic title this week, will head to Augusta National in early April trying to win the one major championship that has eluded him and complete a career Grand Slam.

Golf legend Lee Trevino, in a recent interview, said he was sure McIlroy would achieve more than one Grand Slam in his career, but the 26-year-old said such talk does not alleviate any pressure on him.

"Of course, you always want to be part of the discussion, even if sometimes it gets to you or fills your head with thoughts that you don't maybe want in your head at certain points," said McIlroy.

"But it's always better to be a part of the conversation than not.

"It's just words. It's just someone giving their opinion. But the difference between someone saying that and me actually going out and doing it are two entirely different things.

"Yeah, I'd like to think by the end of my career, I'll hopefully have won each major more than once, but I don't know if I'm going to do it. I hope I do.

"Trevino seems to think that I will, so maybe I need to go talk to him!

"I don't think it takes any pressure off going into Augusta. Of course I want to win there one day, but I've got hopefully 20-plus years of giving it a go and hopefully by that 20th year, I'm not going for my first green jacket

"Hopefully, I will be going for my third or fourth."

McIlroy was delighted to be back on a golf course where he hasn't finished outside the top-10 in his last six starts.

He is also a two-time champion of the Dubai Desert Classic. and completed a Dubai double last year, winning the DP World Tour Championship in November.

"It's always nice to be back in Dubai, and I guess the last couple of times I've played here, I've done pretty well, so I'm sort of going for three in a row in Dubai with winning here last year, and then with the DP World," added McIlroy.

"It seems to bring out my best golf. And I've got great memories here at Emirates Golf Club, winning my first tournament, making my first cut as a pro. So it's always great to be back.

"Yeah, if I was leaving here on Sunday night and didn't win, I'd be disappointed."

The $2.5 million tournament starts on Thursday with McIlroy the highest ranked player in the field. Also in the fray are world number six Henrik Stenson of Sweden, and the 18th ranked Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

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