Family counts for confident Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is counting on some parental guidance to take his revenge on Augusta National at the Masters tournament this week.

Updated: April 03, 2012 21:04 IST
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Augusta, Georgia: Rory McIlroy is counting on some parental guidance to take his revenge on Augusta National at the Masters tournament this week.

Mum and Dad, Rosie and Gerry, were not on hand last year when the Irishman endured one of the biggest Sunday meltdowns in Masters history.

Leading by four shots going into the final round shoot-out and seemingly on the way to his first major title at the age of 21, the Irishman was consumed by a tumultous collapse.

When the dust had settled, McIlroy had fired an 80 and slumped down the standings to a tie for 15th place as South Africa's Charl Schwartzel swooped in under the radar to steal the prize.

Many at the time wondered what the long-term effect would be on McIlroy, but famously he came out eight weeks later to win the US Open by eight shots and since then he has assumed the world number one ranking, albeit for just two weeks.

A year on from that darkest of days in his young career, McIlroy says that he has learned a lot about his golf and himself, but having his parents with him this week could be the clincher.

"Dad is a very laid back type of person, very easy going. Wouldn't get sort of stressed or uptight about anything," he said.

"Even just that sort of aura that he gives off, having him around, it sort of makes everything seem a little bit more relaxed.

"So it's definitely nice to have him around. And whether it's just having breakfast with him or having dinner, it's just nice to have both of my parents here.

"Maybe at the end of the week, that may be the difference or could be a big help in helping me try to win this tournament."

McIlroy, who enjoyed two weeks as the world's top-ranked player last month before Luke Donald unseated him, said that he and his entourage had gone over what happened a year ago "a million times" and that he had come to the conclusion that he had allowed the occasion to get to him.

"I was trying to be too focused, too perfect," he said.

"For me, I feel like myself, I'm more relaxed. I sort of have a bounce in my step and sort of a heads up looking around at other people.

"That day, I felt like from watching the tape back, I was always looking at the ground. I was very insular.

"My shoulders were a little bit (hunched over), sort of like I didn't want the outside world to get in instead of embracing the situation and saying, 'You know, I've got a four-shot lead at the Masters, let's enjoy this.' That was the real difference."

McIlroy started off the year in fine style at Abu Dhabi in late January, going out with Donald and Tiger Woods on the Thursday and Friday and closing well to eventually take second place behind upset winner Robert Rock.

He then reached the final of the World Golf Championships Match Play in Arizona, losing to Hunter Mahan, and the following week he won the Honda Classic in Floria to take the world number one spot from Donald.

A third place behind Justin Rose in the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 11 was his last tournament before the Masters and since then he has combined trips to Augusta with spending time supporting girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki at her tennis tournaments.

It's an approach to the year's first Major that he believes suits him best.

"I think if you look at the way I play, I usually do well the first week I come back out ... so I always play Abu Dhabi as my the first event of the season. I've come pretty close there in the past. I haven't quite won it, but I feel like I've come out playing well." he said.

"And I just feel fresh. Feel ready to go. I feel like if this was my third week in a row, there's maybe bad putts or bad shots that sort of creep back into your mind from the week previous.

"For me, I just feel like it's a fresh start and you get going. I think it works well for me."

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