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With the first round of The Masters just over a week away, reports in the US claim that the Grand Slam-chasing Rory McIlroy is working with legendary coach Butch Harmon.

According to New York-based sports reporter Kris Pursiainen, the four-time major champion has enlisted the support of Harmon as he bids to end his long pursuit of the Green Jacket.

The same claim has been made by GolfWRX golf writer Matt Vincenzi who claims that McIlroy reached out to Harmon after finishing in a tie for 19th at The PLAYERS Championship last month.

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Harmon, of course, is one of the game’s most famous instructors and enjoyed great success with Tiger Woods from 1993 until 2004 and then Phil Mickelson from 2007 to 2015. More recently, he has helped Rickie Fowler recover from the slump that caused him to slip outside the world’s top 100, his comeback culminating with a victory in the Ricket Mortgage Classic last July – his first PGA Tour title in four-and-a-half years.

McIlroy’s camp has yet to comment on the reports but the world No.2 is scheduled to meet the media later today at the Valero Texas Open where it’s reasonable to assume the subject will be raised.

It wouldn’t be the first time that McIlroy has reached out to Harmon. He has consulted with the iconic coach on multiple occasions in the past, most recently in 2020.

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The Masters is all that stands between the Irishman and golfing immortality. Win next week and he will become only the sixth golfer in history to win all four major championships. However, next week also marks his tenth attempt at completing the slam. He has six top-10s in his last nine visits to Augusta National but has missed the cut in two of the last three years, including last year.

According to Golfweek, the 34-year-old made a scouting mission to the course on Monday, won’t return until late on Tuesday next week and intends to skip the Par-3 Content on Wednesday.

Before then, he’ll hope to find some momentum in Texas this week. Despite starting 2024 in fine fashion on the DP World Tour – finishing runner-up and winning in Dubai in back-to-back weeks in January – McIlroy is still searching for his first top-10 of the season on the PGA Tour.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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