Calling all Rory McIlroy fans: we’ve got some potentially bad news for you as his fourth shot at the grand slam glory edges ever closer.
The four-time major champion has just two starts left on the PGA Tour to pick up some form before teeing it up at Augusta National – this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and the WGC-Dell Match Play – after going CUT, T20, T59, CUT in his four starts in the USA this year.
McIlroy hasn’t won since the Tour Championship in September 2016 and, when looking back at recent Masters winners, it makes for grim reading for the Northern Irishman.
That’s because 15 of the last 17 Green Jacket winners have tasted victory in the 12 months leading up to Augusta, with 14 of those – Bubba Watson in 2012 the exception – winning in the five months prior to the Masters.
Take a look at the list of Masters champions and the most recent of their wins in the 12 months leading up to the tournament below:
2017: Sergio Garcia – Omega Dubai Desert Classic (Feb ’17)
2016: Danny Willett – Omega Dubai Desert Classic (Feb ’16)
2015: Jordan Spieth – Valspar Championship (Mar ’15)
2014: Bubba Watson – Northern Trust Open (Feb ’14)
2013: Adam Scott – Talisker Masters (Nov ’12)
2012: Bubba Watson – Zurich Classic of New Orleans (May ’11)
2011: Charl Schwartzel – Joburg Open (Jan ’11)
2010: Phil Mickelson – WGC-HSBC Champions (Nov ’09)
2009: Angel Cabrera – Did not win
2008: Trevor Immelman – Nedbank Golf Challenge (Nov ’07)
2007: Zach Johnson – Did not win
2006: Phil Mickelson – BellSouth Classic (Apr ’06)
2005: Tiger Woods – Ford Championship at Doral (Mar ’05)
2004: Phil Mickelson – Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (Jan ’04)
2003: Mike Weir – Nissan Open (Feb ’03)
2002: Tiger Woods – Bay Hill Invitational (Mar ’02)
2001: Tiger Woods – Player Championship (Mar ’01)
Rory's Augusta record
McIlroy's recent record at Augusta National - with top tens in each of his last four appearances - would suggest that a win is on the horizon.
However, on all of those occasions, McIlroy hasn't contended. He hasn't got any closer than six shots from the winning score, which he was in both 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The only time he has truly contended, of course, was in 2011, when he blew the lead on the back nine with seven dropped shots to finish T15.
Rory's Masters odds
For McIlroy loyalists convinced that an upturn in form is just around the corner, there has never been a better time to stick some money on him.
As low as 8/1 after back-to-back top three finishes on the European Tour earlier this year, the Northern Irishman can now be found at 16/1 in most places - helped by the resurgence of the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and continued brilliance of Justin Thomas.