McIlroy forced to dwell on collapse
Rory McIlroy admits he is going to find it hard to forget his Masters meltdown for a while after seeing his hopes of a first major victory evaporate in spectacular fashion on Sunday evening.
Eventual winner Charl Schwartzel shot a simply brilliant 66 at Augusta National, a dramatic start and then four closing birdies giving the 26-year-old South African his first major title by two from Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day after it looked for a while as though Tiger Woods was going to triumph from seven back.
McIlroy's wait for a green jacket goes on after he crashed from four in front overnight to 10 shots behind and joint 15th place with a nightmare 80, and he said: "I was still one shot ahead going into the 10th and then things went all pear-shaped after that."
He triple-bogeyed the 10th, three-putted the 11th, four-putted the 12th and bogeyed the long 15th to become the third 54-hole leader in the last four majors - Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney were the others - to fail to break 80.
But while Johnson and Watney actually scored worse, McIlroy's advantage when he teed off was the biggest and the last time anyone lost a bigger last day lead in a major was Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie in 1999.
And by suffering such a reversal in fortunes the world number nine had even done worse than Greg Norman at Augusta in 1996. With a 78 Norman went from six clear to five behind Nick Faldo.
"It was a very disappointing day obviously." said McIlroy, "But hopefully I'll learn from it and come back a little stronger. I don't think I can put it down to anything else than part of the learning curve.
"Hopefully if I can get myself back into this position pretty soon I will handle it a little bit better.
"It will be pretty tough for me for the next few days, but I will get over it - I will be fine.
"There are a lot worse things that can happen in your life. Shooting a bad score in the last round of a golf tournament is nothing in comparison to what other people go through."