McIlroy bounces back, sees form returning
AUGUSTA, Ga. The word about Augusta early Sunday morning was that hole locations were there for the taking – and amid favorable conditions at that.
Rory McIlroy certainly took advantage, closing out an otherwise disappointing Masters with a 69, good for 2 over for the week. Much of McIlroy's troubles stemmed from a 79 in Saturday's third round.
". . . I didn't feel like I played too differently today than I did yesterday, but yet the score is 10 shots lower," McIlroy said. "It's just the way it is on this golf course. If you get on the wrong sides of the greens and wrong sides of the pins it can make you look silly at times. But obviously I went through a bad stretch of holes there yesterday from 7 to 11, played them in 5 over, but apart from that I actually felt like I had a decent tournament."
McIlroy succinctly summed up what many have known for years about the Augusta National layout and setup.
"It's one of these golf courses where, when it's like this unfortunately like you can shoot 65 in a heartbeat, but all of a sudden you go for a few shots and you're staring double and triple bogey in the face," he said.
". . . It's the same thing every year. Don't short-side yourself, don't take on too much when you know you can't. That's the game plan that I came in with this week and it just didn't pay off."
With so much attention given to McIlroy's struggles in recent months – he slipped from the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, overtaken by former No. 1 Tiger Woods – McIlroy said he can see his top form returning to him.
"I played well," he said, then addressed a few negatives before getting into the positives. "It was tough conditions the first couple of days and I was in a good position going into the weekend. I didn't quite have it all yesterday and that really cost me. You have to be right on your game for 72 holes here and I played a little bad five hole stretch in 5 over par which didn't help.
". . . I played nicely today and I've got a couple weeks off now and I'm looking forward to getting back and playing in Charlotte and TPC. Yeah, I feel like my game's definitely heading in the right direction, I'm hitting all the shots. It's just a matter of committing to them all the time."
McIlroy addressed how important experience can be at Augusta in particular, asked about the good standing of older players such as Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.
"Even their bad shots are put in the right positions. So you can give your self an easy up and down," McIlroy said. "Because they have played it so many times that it's sort of second nature to them and I'm trying to get there."