Augusta, GA — Over the past five years, Rory McIlroy has been ranked as the world’s best male golfer for 27 weeks. He has his nine wins on the PGA Tour, including Tour Championships and Players Championships. He was on the team that won the Ryder Cup. In the final round of last year’s Masters Tournament, he hit 8-under-par 64.
But when was the last time he hit par or better in the first round of the Masters? April 5, 2018.
At least the trendline is improving? If McIlroy becomes the sixth modern-day player to complete a Grand Slam in his career, it is very likely that he will have to recalculate Thursday at his National Golf Club in Augusta. That’s it. (He hit his first par 72 when he made his Masters debut in 2009.)
“It was a tentative start. I didn’t hit the accelerator early enough,” McIlroy said this week. “I’ve had a few bad nines and even dropped out of tournaments because of it. So it’s like having all the ingredients to make a pie. , just set the oven to the right temperature and let all sorts of stuff happen.
Having practiced over 80 holes recently, McIlroy is acutely aware that Augusta National is “a very difficult course to follow.”
“If you start shooting at the pins and short sided yourself, you fail in the wrong place. It’s hard to fill a lot of ground,” he said.
CBS commentator and two-time women’s major champion Dottie Pepper said she believes McIlroy made some necessary shifts to compete, including changing putters and drivers. But whether that’s enough may become clear on Thursday, she said.
“He was out of the tournament every Thursday, and all of a sudden he was in gear, and he was in gear too late,” she said. “It could be a pretty spectacular movie,” she predicted.
McIlroy, who faces Sam Burns and Tom Kim in the first two rounds, is scheduled to tee off at 1:48 PM ET on Thursday.
New Road to Masters: NCAA Title
Augusta National has announced the entry criteria for the 2024 Masters. Professional standards haven’t changed much, but American college male golfers have new incentives to win NCAA Division I individual titles. Comes with an invitation to the Masters.
Augusta National President Fred S. Ridley said of the NCAA competition: Reigning Division I champion Gordon, his sophomore at Vanderbilt University, his sergeant is in the 88-man field this week after receiving an invitation from tournament organizers before the new policy was announced.
“It really goes back to our roots. It’s that Bobby Jones was the greatest amateur of all time,” Ridley said broadly of the amateur’s place at Augusta National. I believed in the importance of amateurism, and I had personal experience of enjoying it on three different occasions, and I can say that it changed my life.
Past NCAA individual champions include Bryson DeChambeau, Luke Donald, Max Houma, Phil Mickelson, Curtis Strange and Tiger Woods.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Sargent revels in the experience around Augusta National, even if he’s mistaken for a participant in the Youth Drive, Chip and Putt competition, for example.
“I’ve been walking around and nobody’s with me,” Sargent said. I was like, “Can you feed the players?” Are they like players, I don’t know?
He finally let it inside.
“It was pretty funny,” he said. “They were like, ‘Where are your parents?
Ridley also said Wednesday that the winner of the NCAA individual women’s championship will be invited to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Reigning Division I champion Rose Chang of Stanford University won that tournament over the weekend. .
Two past champions are nearing the end of their careers at Augusta National.
Ridley, who used to be a diplomat, didn’t identify Larry Mize as the reason why Greg Norman wasn’t invited to this year’s Masters. However, in 1987 it was Mize who hit a stunning chip in 11th from where he was 140 feet away, making Norman his second consecutive Masters runner-up.
Mize, 64, has competed in every Masters since, and this will be his last. It will also be the last Masters for 65-year-old Sandy Lyle, who won in 1988.
“The club head speed slows down sometimes without even trying, the course is long and I’m short,” Lyle said. can’t fight it.”
Mize, the only Augusta native to ever win the Masters, spends part of the week advising newcomers.
“Believe in your talent and let it go,” Mize said, adding, “You have to respect this golf course, but you can’t be afraid. You can’t play in fear. Otherwise it’s going to be a long week.”
Lyle suggested Mize had trouble understanding his remarks at Tuesday’s private dinner for past champions. he wasn’t.
“He hardened like a clam shell,” Lyle said. “He just stood there with a glass of water and another.” We all have emotions when it comes to things.