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Rory: I'd love to win Masters but I don't need to any more

 

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

By Robert Jones

Rory McIlroy goes in search of his elusive Masters title at Augusta this week insisting he is no longer consumed by the need to complete his career Grand Slam of majors there.

Pressure and expectation has built year-on-year on McIlroy to conquer Augusta ever since his calamitous meltdown from a winning position in 2011.

Now, as he approaches his 30th birthday next month, he has revealed that while his motivation remains high, his approach to this week's tournament will be one of measured calm.

"I think there's a difference between a personal desire and a need, and I think I've separated those two," said the Florida-based Holywood star who won four majors in four years before the age of 25 - but has gone five years since his last.

He added: "I would have said a couple of years ago, 'I need to win a Masters. I need a green jacket.' Where now it's, 'I want to. I want to win it.' And I'd love to win it. But if I don't I'm OK. And I think that is the difference.

"It's definitely taken me time to come to terms with the things I've needed to deal with inside my own head. A Grand Slam would be a massive achievement. It would be huge.

"But again, I can't think of it that way. I just have to go out and play the golf course the way I know that I can play and repeat that for four days and, hopefully that's good enough to have the lowest score that week."

McIlroy needs to win the Masters to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in having claimed all four major titles.

"I feel like I'm good enough to join those people and that it would just be a very proud moment in my life," he said.

But on the eve of his latest bid, he admitted: "I don't define myself by who I am as a golfer anymore. I'm very comfortable with who I am as a person and very comfortable with who I am as a golfer. I think my wife probably had a lot to do with that.

"Believe me, I am motivated to make the most of what I have and to put my name among some of the greats of our game. I'm going to try my backside off there, and I'm probably not going to win. I've had 10 years of learning at Augusta, some tough times. And if one day I'm able to get that green jacket at the end of 72 holes, all of those experiences will have played a part in helping me do that.

"So, have I a desire to do it? Yes. Do I have a need to do it? No."

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