Rory McIlroy says he was driven to tears after a triple bogey on No. 10 and four putts at No. 12 on Sunday during the 2011 Masters. The fall cost him the lead and likely a green jacket.
“I got on the phone to my mum the next morning and that’s when it hit me – and I actually cried,” McIlory tells National Club Golfer.
“The second shot to the 1st hole on Sunday was the first time I felt defensive all week. I said to myself, ‘Don’t go left.’ From the 10th green to 14th tee it was all was a bit of a blur, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The whole situation got to me.”
It was not the end for McIlroy – who won the U.S. Open two months later – but rather the start of a stellar run of success that continued up until this past season. He needs that green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam.
McIlroy failed to win a tournament in 2017, but the year was nonetheless a success on the personal front. He married Erica Stoll in the weeks following this year’s Masters.
His best man at the wedding – Harry Diamond – remains his best man on the bag. Diamond caddied for McIlroy seven times in 2017 after his breakup with J.P. Fitzgerald.
A nagging rib injury curtailed McIlory throughout parts of this year. He has planned on seven starts before the Masters in April. Among them: Abu Dhabi; Dubai the following week; Pebble Beach two weeks later; Riviera and in the Honda Classic before March.
He will have Florida stops in March at Valspar at Copperhead then Orlando’s Bay Hill the following week. Any other events will be health and schedule permitting.
This year’s final ranking will be his lowest since 2008. But, as is the case with so many notable golfers, the majors are the thing that matters most.
“I’m not getting any younger. These three months off could give me the foundation to have the next 10 years be even better than the 10 years I’ve just had. Hopefully, that turns a great career into one of the greatest careers.”