Rory rues another Masters miss

Rory McIlroy (Getty)
Rory McIlroy (Getty)

Augusta - Rory McIlroy's misery at the Masters continued on Sunday as his bid to become just the sixth player to win all four majors again ended in despair.

Starting the day five shots behind leader Jordan Spieth after a disappointing showing on Saturday when he was in the final pairing with the American, he never looked like mounting a comeback after an opening bogey at Augusta National.

The four-time major winner came in with a creditable 71, but that left him on 1-over for the tournament, six shots worse off than winner Danny Willett.

There is a problem with the course and the tournament, McIlroy admits, although he says that, at just 26, he is convinced that one day he will find a solution.

"Yeah, this is the one that I haven't won and this is the one I want to win more than anything else," he said.

"I won a Claret Jug (British Open), I want to win more. I won a Wanamaker (PGA Championship), I won the US Open, but this is the one that I haven't.

"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, but it's just a matter of doing it."

Masters mindgames apart, McIlroy has not been in the best of form all year and is without a win since he changed to a left-under-right putting style.

But McIlroy insisted that he was happy with his game on the greens which he said had not been the reason that he had failed to win the tournament this week.

It was, he added, more a case of mind over matter.

"I felt very tentative, played very defensively, felt very similar to how I played the last round at Doral, playing with the lead," he said.

"You're just trying not to make mistakes instead of attacking and trying to make birdies. Trying not to make mistakes is not my game, that's not what I do. And if I were to have yesterday back that's what I would do differently."

Despite his young age, the spreading mental scar tissue that McIlroy carries from his collisions with the Masters is surely beginning to unnerve him.

Four years ago, he took a four-shot lead into the final round only to suffer a spectacular meltdown and a score of 80 that dropped him into a tie for 15th.

Ironically, his best final-day performance came last year, when he closed with a superb 66 and a best showing of tied for fourth. But on that occasion, he was already out of the running for the top spot.

McIlroy said he feels sure that he is not in danger of turning into another Phil Mickleson, who has won three of the four majors but finished second six times in the US Open, the only one he has yet to win.

"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," he said.

"So, the more times I can get in position to win this tournament, the more times I'll learn and I'll know what not to do.

"And I feel like I learned a lot yesterday reflecting on it and that's something that hopefully I'll do things differently."

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