Rory McIlroy says he now feels ‘comfortable’ with the pressure of trying to complete the career grand slam.
The Northern Irishman is just one Masters victory away from joining an exclusive band of golfers to have won all four men’s majors.
Next month’s visit to Augusta National marks his fifth attempt at emulating Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to completed the clean sweep, and the 29-year-old says he will go to Georgia more relaxed than ever.
“It's definitely taken me time to come to terms with the things I've needed to deal with inside my own head,” said McIlroy. “I think sometimes I'm too much of a fan of the game because I know exactly who has won the grand slam and I know exactly the people I would be putting myself alongside. So, there's maybe a part of that that, if I didn't know the history of the game and I wasn't such a fan it would work in my favour.
“It would be a massive achievement. It would be huge. But, I can't think about it in that way. I just have to go out and play the golf course the way I know that I can play it and repeat that for four days.”
Victory in the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool put McIlroy three-quarters of the way towards completing the slam. He said that he put himself under “extra stress” to finish the job on his first few subsequent trips to Augusta.
“I guess I've become a lot more comfortable with the fact that I'm going to fail more times than I succeed at that certain conquest or whatever you want to call it,” he added. “I've become comfortable with the fact I've tried four times, I've failed, but Abraham Lincoln lost the first 13 elections he was ever in. He wound up being the President of the United States. So, I’ve still got a bit of time.”
The 2019 Masters Tournament takes place at Augusta National from April 11-14.