Will Rory McIlroy Win The Masters?

We assess the Northern Irishman’s chances for Augusta. Could this be the spring he ends his Major drought and secures the Career Grand Slam?

Will Rory McIlroy win the masters
Will Rory McIlroy Win The Masters?
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Rory McIlroy was only 19 when he first played in The Masters back in 2009. He was tipped then as an almost nailed on future winner of the event. 13 years later, Rory is yet to pull on a Green Jacket. The prospect of Rory winning at Augusta National to complete the Career Grand Slam is still a very real one but it’s coming up on eight years since he last won a Major title and there are a few hurdles he’ll need to overcome to achieve his goal. 

Despite currently sitting fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking, Rory is less fancied than the likes of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson to win The Masters at his 14th time of asking. Here we take a look at the case for and against a Rory win at Augusta.

For

Rory

Rory first played The Masters back in 2009

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Experience and Record

Rory may be only 32, but he has a huge amount of experience playing at Augusta. This will be his 14th outing at the iconic venue. He might not have won The Masters, but his record is pretty impressive. OK, he had a wobble in 2011 when he had a great chance to take the victory (more on that in the against section) but he has six top-10 finishes to his name at The Masters and has only missed the cut twice. From 2014 to 2020 he finished outside the top-10 only once.

Augusta National

Rory

Rory's long game is ideally suited for Augusta

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If you were to design a golf course specifically for Rory McIlroy, it would look something like Augusta National. This golfing treasure rewards the very best ball strikers capable of controlling their flight to access any flag on the course.

If he's on his game, the quality of his ball striking will prevent him from facing too many of those hugely challenging Augusta putts. His powerful draw and naturally high flight are ingredients that could help him become Masters Champion.

Form and Ability

Rory

Rory has played solidly in recent months

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Rory has been sparing in his starts recently, but his form has been good since last summer. He hasn’t missed a cut since the 2021 Scottish Open. He has a win and three further top-five finishes to his name. His consistent results have seen him climb back to fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking at the time of writing.

Rory is, arguably, the most talented golfer in the modern game and when firing on all cylinders, he can produce golf of the most sublime quality. If he can find top gear at Augusta, he has the necessary skill to pull away from the field.

Against

Rory

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Pressure

Inevitably Rory feels added pressure every time he tees it up in The Masters – The expectation surrounding him at Augusta is huge and the press pile it on (with articles like this one). "Could this be the year that Rory completes the career Grand Slam?" No matter how much he says he doesn’t feel the weight of expectation and pressure, he simply must do. Nobody wants that Masters win more than Rory.

He’s capable of winning any tournament he enters but getting over the line in this one has proved too much for him to this point.

When in contention in 2018, for example, he played with eventual winner Patrick Reed in the final round and stumbled to a disappointing 74 (+2).

If he's to become just the sixth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam, he needs to somehow put that very thought to the deepest depths of his mind.

Meltdown

Rory

Rory collapsed in the final round of 2011

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The 2011 Masters was a formative experience for Rory McIlroy. He started the final round with the lead and, despite playing relatively poorly on the front nine, was still atop the leaderboard when he turned for home. However, what happened next brought tears to the Northern Irishman’s eyes.

His long game dissolved and his score imploded on the greens. It was hard to watch.  That he put things right at the very next Major – the 2011 US Open – was hugely impressive but are there any Augusta demons still lingering?

Bad memories can take a long time to fade but it's been over a decade now since that infamous collapse. Does it still niggle? Of course it does. Is it firmly behind him? Perhaps…

The Competition

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm will likely start as favourite

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The wealth of superb young players at the top of the World Ranking means Rory will have to beat a crop of hugely talented golfers if he’s to claim this year’s Masters.

World Number 1 Jon Rahm will start as favourite, and he has a pretty incredible record at Augusta – He’s finished no worse than tied ninth over the last four seasons. Last year he finished in the top-10 in all four Majors, including U.S. Open victory.

With Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson thrown into the mix, the competition for Rory at the 2022 Masters is arguably the stiffest he will ever have faced at Augusta.

Putting

Rory

Rory sometimes struggles with the putter

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If Rory has a weakness it lies with the flatstick. He is streaky. When he is on, he can putt the lights out but he’s currently ranked 70th in putts per round on the European Tour for this season. At Augusta, the test on the greens is of course, severe.

The combination of speed and slope requires a confident, self-assured approach. If Rory’s belief in his own stroke wavers, the putts will slip by and so will his chances of a first Masters title.

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?