The Astonishing Rory McIlroy Masters Stats That Explains Why He Is Yet To Win The Green Jacket

If Rory McIlroy wants to finally win The Masters, there's one eye-catching stat that he simply has to change in order to get his hands on a Green Jacket

Harry Diamond and Rory McIlroy at The Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everyone's got a theory on why Rory McIlroy still hasn't won The Masters, and plenty of those have solutions for how he can finally slip on the Green Jacket, but there's one glaring stat staring us in the face that he simply has to fix if he's to complete the career Grand Slam.

The Northern Irishman should have already won all four of golf's Majors and The Masters should've been the first back in 2011 but for that infamous Sunday meltdown - and he's had no joy at Augusta National ever since.

All the pressure that comes with completing the Grand Slam is part of the problem, and McIlroy has vowed to try and control his emotions this time around as he looks to end a decade of Major drought.

Augusta is a special place with special problems to solve, and there are well-known keys to victory there - but among all the finer points and minor details, there's one big disparity in McIlroy's scoring at The Masters that sticks out like a sore thumb.

We looked at all of McIlroy’s Masters scorecards and found some fascinating data in among them, but there's also a stat pointed out by data guru Justin Ray on X about the four-time Major champion's struggles on the par 3s and par 4s.

Now, along with being a second shot golf course and "knowing where to miss" at Augusta - taking advantage of the par 5s is also a key to winning that Green Jacket.

That's part of the puzzle that McIlroy has had no problem with whatsoever as he's taken them apart over the years and is a cumulative 94 under par on the longer holes over his Masters career.

On the shorter holes though, he's struggled and is +67 on par 3 and par 4 holes, and that huge contrast goes some way to explaining just where his challenge has always faltered.

Now, it's the norm to be better on the par 5s than the rest, and of the last 15 winners of The Masters only Danny Willett finished the tournament with a better score on the shorter holes than the par 5s.

But having that 161-shot difference between them over his Masters career is huge for McIlroy, and the stats show that when he can sort himself out on the shorter holes then he'll go close.

When he finished second in 2022 McIlroy was just +1 for the par 3 and par 4 holes during the tournament, and his previous best before that in 2020 he was actually four under for the shorter holes when finishing fifth.

Basically, with his elite driving and long game, the par 5s will take care of themselves, but it's those shorter holes that when McIlroy takes care of them he'll be right at the sharp end of the leaderboard.

There are ways and means for all this and hitting greens and making putts all come into the equation, but it's a pretty eye-catching stat that needs addressing if McIlroy is to finally end that long wait.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.