Rory McIlroy looks to up his game ahead of the Masters

Published 23/03/2011 14:43:57

To most observers Rory McIlroy resides in the group of players destined to win a major. A former amateur world number one, he turned professional at the age of 18 and within two years was ranked inside the world's top 10, due partly to respective joint 10th and joint third finishes at the 2009 US Open and PGA Championship.


The feeling that the Ulsterman is a major winner in waiting was strengthened by his consistency in WGC events - four top-10 finishes in seven WGC stroke play appearances - and his classy display at last year's PGA Championship, when he repeated his third place finish from 2009. He was one putt away from joining Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer in a play-off after sharing the lead for much of the final round.


That near-miss will help McIlroy deal with the pressure in big events and it seems that everything is in place for a serious assault on the big four trophies this year. His length of the tee and fearless attacking of greens makes him a threat at Augusta, although 2011 has not gone as well as he would have hoped after finishing last season so strongly and the golf betting odds indicate he will need to up his game.


Second place at the Abu Dhabi Championship - albeit eight strokes behind Kaymer - promised much, but McIlroy has since developed a habit for ending tournaments badly. He carded final round 74s at the Dubai Desert Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championship to fall out of contention and finished 77-75 at the Honda Classic to finish 70th.


The world number eight will need to find more consistency to triumph at the Masters , but even McIlroy does not open his major account at Augusta he will not be alone in thinking that it is a matter of when, not if.


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