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Victory in The Masters is all that stands between Rory McIlroy and golf immortality.
With a win at Augusta National, the Irishman would become just the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam.
And, as he prepares to make an eighth tilt at history next week, he has received a ringing endorsement from Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie.
Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered (issue 200), the eight-time European No.1 explained why McIlroy has arguably never had a better opportunity to complete his major haul.
“I’d love him to come out and shoot a 67 on the first day of the Masters, because then you would see a whole different game and result,” said Montgomerie. “If he starts with a 68 or a 67, I think it’s his, you know?
“He’s not putting himself in a position where he has to catch up. These days, trying to catch up is bloody difficult. You can’t really catch up because the guys are too damn good.
“If he can shoot a 68 on the first day at Augusta National then he must be playing well enough to stay there. If he can start better, Rory has every chance.
“We would love to see it. You saw the way he finished last year, that bunker shot was one of the shots of the year, to hole it from there to shoot 64. He just left himself a little too much to do, Scottie Scheffler could still four-putt to win, you know?
“But you saw the celebration of him and his caddie in the bunker, you saw that celebration to say, ‘This means an awful lot to me’. He would be my favourite and everyone’s favourite. We all know if McIlroy putts well, he doesn’t need to look at the leaderboard because he’s at the top of it.”
Montgomerie, who played in 15 editions of The Masters with a best finish of T8 in 1998, believes that Augusta National sets up perfectly for McIlroy’s game.
“Gone are the days, I think, of Zach Johnson-style players winning round there. The course is different and it’s a different game. There’s not one game in the world that has got slower. Everything’s faster, quicker, bigger, stronger and golf is no different.
“It’s a big-hitting game and it’s a big-hitters’ course. Yes, it does suit McIlroy, definitely. Everyone’s surprised he hasn’t won it already. Obviously, it would be great to witness.”
• Read the full interview with Colin Montgomerie in issue 200 of bunkered, on-sale now from all good UK newsagents. Alternatively, why not subscribe? International subscriptions also available.
The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland
Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.Find Courses