Masters 2020: Rory McIlroy rues slow start at Augusta as wait for career grand slam continues

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy was left to rue nine poor holes in his opening round as his bid to complete the career Grand Slam with a Masters victory was put on hold for at least five more months.

McIlroy ended in a tie for fifth place, nine shots behind runaway winner Dustin Johnson, despite posting a third sub-70 score in succession with a closing 69.

“I look back on this week and obviously rue what happened,” said McIlroy.

“Maybe not on Thursday because I felt I played OK, but that Friday morning.”

The world number five added: “After that I played well, I hung in there, just had to shoot a good score to be here for the weekend and played a really solid weekend.”

The damage was done in the first round when, resuming early on Friday after a delayed start to the opening day, McIlroy carded four bogeys and just

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Rory McIlroy bids for grand slam at Masters

They’d set a score for McIlroy to shoot and if he beat it, Diamond bought him dinner. If McIlroy fell short, the tab was on him. More than just for kicks, it helped focus the practice.

But on the Sunday evening of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in February, McIlroy laid on drinks for Diamond, his caddie since 2017, to celebrate his rise back to the world No.1 spot for the first time since 2015. It’s a closeness borne out of their junior golf days back in Northern Ireland.

“It was important for me to sit down and have a few drinks with him and be like, we’ve done this, this was our journey and we did it, two guys that grew up in Holywood, playing golf together, this is something that was really cool,” McIlroy said.

But there is one Woods landmark McIlroy can emulate at the
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Masters 2020: Rory McIlroy can come to Augusta ‘under the radar’ and complete career grand slam

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy needs a win at The Masters to complete a career Grand Slam of major victories

Rory McIlroy can go to Augusta National “under the radar” and win the Masters to complete the career grand slam, two double US Open winners believe.

Andy North and Curtis Strange say a soft course and a focus on big-hitting US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau will work to McIlroy’s advantage.

“The golf course is going to play a little bit softer, which I think plays into Rory’s hands,” said North.

“It’s not just being able to hit the ball a long way there,” he added.

“It’s about being able to carry it a long way and he does that as well as anybody.

“I would think with Rory, coming in here, he’s got to be in a really happy mind spot right now (as a) new father, figuring all that out,” former US Ryder

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