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US Masters: Rory McIlroy admits he’s a pain as he targets glory at Augusta

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy has revealed he turns into a “complete p***k” during the Masters as he feels the strain of trying to complete the career grand slam.

McIlroy sets out at Augusta tomorrow needing to win the Masters to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Gary Player in having claimed all four major titles. Asked to name the first thing he thinks of when someone mentions the Masters, McIlroy responded: “Stressful.

“I am, ask anyone who knows me, a complete p***k in the week leading up to Augusta. But they understand and know that. It’s a stressful situation.”

McIlroy famously lost a four-shot lead in the final round in 2011 after collapsing to a closing 80 and knows limiting his mistakes is key to getting his hands on a green jacket.

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Since 2010, the 27-year-old has had more double bogeys or worse at Augusta than any other player under 50, a key factor in shooting a round of 77 or higher in six of his last seven starts.

“If I can make a three on (hole) four and a four on 11 every day this week, I think I’ll be okay,” the Holywood star joked in his pre-tournament press conference last night. “I think I played those holes nine over par last year.

“Around here, don’t take on too much. Actually I had a little conversation yesterday with Jack Nicklaus in Florida. That’s what he said. He said to me, ‘I took on too much a couple of times and it cost me a couple of green jackets.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you have six’.

“But he said it is a golf course that can tempt you. It can tempt you into doing a little bit too much.”

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