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Nobody needs to tell Rory McIlroy what a win at this year’s Masters would mean.

The four-time major champion has fielded countless questions on the importance of an elusive Green Jacket and can expect a few more before he pegs it up at Augusta National next week, making his tenth bid for the fabled career grand slam.

This week at the Valero Texas Open, McIlroy will play competitive golf immediately before the first major of the year for only the second time in a decade.

And while world No.1 Scottie Scheffler heads to Georgia as the overwhelming favourite to win his second Masters crown, McIlroy’s own battle with Augusta will once again provide a fascinating subplot.

• The Masters: 6 long shots who could win Green Jacket

• Rory McIlroy set to make debut in PGA Tour event

It’s never been disputed that the Northern Irishman has the game to win around Augusta. That he was on course for a wire-to-wire victory before that heartbreaking back-nine Sunday collapse in 2011 made it clear.

But Trevor Immelman, who won his Green Jacket back in 2008, believes McIlroy’s most challenging hurdle is the burden of pressure built up over 14 years without Masters success.

“Rory is the big one here,” CBS commentator Immelman said. “I mean, it’s hard to fathom really that he hasn’t won a major in a decade with as dominant as he has been in the game during that time. So I look forward to seeing what he comes up with

“This is going to be his tenth attempt, and, mentally, it starts to weigh on you more and more because you feel like you’ve got what it takes.

“If you’ve gotten to this level, you’ve obviously proven it. The pressure you put on yourself and that spotlight just starts to intensify. And so mentally it becomes a huge challenge.

• The Masters: 6 long shots who could win Green Jacket

• Rory McIlroy set to make debut in PGA Tour event

“It’s a monster you have to run toward. I think back to some advice that Gary Player gave me on the eve before the final round of the 2008 masters.

“He said, ‘Trevor, you better learn to love of adversity because it’s going to come at some point and when it does, that’s going to be the moment. Are you either going to stand up to it and embrace that and really fight to win this Masters or are you going to cower away?'”

We’ll find out if McIlroy can put himself in contention for that very challenge very soon.


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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