• Rory McIlroy praises Blairgowrie teen Bradley Neil
• "I rate his game really highly," said the world No.1
• The 25-year-old tips Bubba Watson as Masters favourite
RORY MCILROY | BRADLEY NEIL
World No.1 Rory McIlroy has heaped praise on British Amateur champion Bradley Neil and backed the Scot to forge a career on the PGA Tour.
The pair played a practice round together on Monday, with Neil fulfilling one of his pre-tournament aims by playing with McIlroy, who is aiming to become the sixth golfer in history to complete a career grand slam.
And after their round, Rory McIlroy seems confident that the 19-year-old from Blairgowrie, who is playing in his first Masters tournament after qualifying as the British Amateur champion, has an excellent future ahead of him in the game.
"I can see him one day coming over here and doing well on the PGA Tour" - Rory McIlroy
He said: “I rate his game really highly. I remember saying to him at the Ryder Cup last year that if he wanted to play a practice round at Augusta to let me know.
“We decided to go out and play which was great. I remember my first time here, getting to play with a few of the guys I looked up to when I was at that point and it was a nice experience for me to see how much he was enjoying it.
“His game is right there. He’s impressive, hits it a long way, doesn’t seem to be in awe of anything so I just told him to go out there and enjoy it. He’s got the game to do well and I can see him one day coming over here and doing well on the PGA Tour.”
Rory McIlroy’s form heading into the Masters isn’t the greatest, with a missed cut at the Honda Classic, T9 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and a T11 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
But despite that, the 25-year-old is fully prepared for the tournament and has made full use of his time since Bay Hill three weeks ago.
He said: “Results wise, the last three tournaments haven’t been what I’ve wanted. I still feel like there’s plenty of positives to take from them, especially Doral and Bay Hill. I felt like I got what I needed out of them.
“But the last two weeks have been great. I’ve just practiced at home in Florida, made another trip up here a couple of Fridays ago. So everything I’ve done, all the work I’ve done gearing up for this week has been good. I’m just ready for the gun to go off on Thursday morning.”
Rory McIlroy is the clear favourite with the bookmakers to win at Augusta but when asked about his favourite for the tournament, the four-time major winner was quick to pick out defending champion Bubba Watson.
He said: “I'd say Bubba is . He's won here two of the last three years, has the perfect game for this course, has been playing really well and seems confident every time he tees it up.
“He's been right up there in his last few events. So if you're looking at someone that will do well this week, I think Bubba is the main guy. Not trying to put any pressure on him or anything!”
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