Will Rory McIlroy ever win The Masters? GM Vercict

Will Rory McIlroy ever win The Masters?

In this article, Neil Tappin asks will Rory McIlroy ever win the Masters? He clearly has the game but so why does the Green Jacket continue to illude the Northern Irishman

For Rory McIlroy, the most significant moment of this US Masters was the first shot he hit in round four. Usually so imperious with driver in hand, his opening tee shot sailed high, wide and ugly into the trees way right of the fairway. He may have escaped with a par but in the nanoseconds after the ball left his driver, doubts were sewn and McIlroy’s swing continued to undermine his challenge throughout the final day at Augusta National. As the dust settles, it begs the question will Rory McIlroy ever win the Masters?

The irony of Rory McIlory’s 2018 final round failure was that it was his long game to blame. The Northern Irishman is undoubtedly one of the best ball-strikers on Tour and his power and accuracy off the tee combined with an arrow-like iron display over the first three rounds to get him within touching distance of Patrick Reed’s lead.

Troubled Master: Patrick Reed's Family Feud

The truth is, McIlroy didn’t choke – he didn’t get close enough to Reed in the final stages for that. His swing simply stuttered – fairways and greens were missed throughout the round placing an impossible strain on his hitherto impressive short game. It was just one of those days – even the best have them.

That he has the skill-set to win the Masters isn’t in doubt. We have seen throughout his career that McIlory is a streaky putter and when his flatstick behaves, he is arguably the best player in the world. That his long game would choose to fall apart just as his short game rose to the occasion is an irony that only the Golfing Gods can explain.

The bigger question mark lingering over McIloy now is whether he can overcome the troubling memories of his near misses at Augusta. In 2011, McIlroy, who at that stage was major-less, held the lead going into the final round of the US Masters. His back nine disintegration was hard to watch and the 21 year-old recorded a disastrous round of 80. That he went onto win the very next major, the 2011 US Open was an incredible triumph of mind, heart and skill. It seemed that those major demons had been put to bed and a line had been drawn under the 2011 US Masters. Well, not exactly and we have been left asking will Rory McIlroy ever win the Masters?

Seven years after that collapse and the only major missing from McIlroy’s CV is the Masters. There is no hiding from the fact that this has become an anomaly for a player of his ability, especially on a golf course that seems so well suited to his game.

Rory McIlroy: What's In The Bag?

When Rory McIlroy won the Open Championship at Hoylake in 2014, the only missing part of the Grand Slam jigsaw was the Masters. Since then he has arrived at Augusta each April carrying a weight of expectation placed on his shoulders as much by himself as the golfing public.

When you add this expectation to the painful memories created in 2011 and then, to a much lesser extent, added to in 2018 you start to see a significant mental hurdle.

Will Rory McIlroy ever win the Masters? On paper this is a no-brainer – Rory McIlroy has everything needed to capture a Green Jacket and it would certainly be just rewards for a player whose popularity matches his God-given talent. If he can overcome any lingering doubts, it will surely happen for him. That of course, will be easier said than done.


Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X