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Rory McIlroy makes a strong pitch to be the Master at Auigusta many times

By Frank Brownlow

Rory McIlroy believes one green jacket could be the first of many as he launches his bid to complete the career grand slam at the Masters at Augusta next week.

The world number one has also revealed how his final-round collapse at Augusta in 2011 was the most important day of his career.

McIlroy is looking to become just the sixth player - and first European - to win all four major titles after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

"For me now it's a career-long goal to win there to achieve something that only a handful of players have ever achieved," the 25-year-old said in a BBC NI documentary presented by Stephen Watson next Wednesday (BBC2, 11.20pm)

"There's something special I can achieve going into Augusta this year.

"You are a complete player if you can win every major because they are on different golf courses, different tests, different conditions.

"Not many guys have done it in history so to put my name there would be awesome. It would just be incredible.

"You feel the sense of what can be achieved but I can't think about that too much. I just have to think about trying to go out there and playing as best as I can and if I can do that hopefully my scores add up to a shot lower than anyone else's."

The Ulsterman has just one top-10 finish in six Masters appearances, finishing joint eighth last year.

But he cannot picture going through his career without slipping on the coveted green jacket - and hopefully on numerous occasions.

"During my career, yes it's unthinkable," he added.

"If I don't win it this year... either it's not the right time or it isn't your time. If I was to look back as a 60-year-old on my career and not have won a green jacket I'd obviously be very, very disappointed.

"And not just one. I feel like it's a course I can do very well at and a golf course I can hopefully win multiple times on. Obviously getting that first one is extra important and from there we can go on and maybe think about getting some others."

McIlroy held a four-shot lead going into the final round four years ago, only to collapse to a closing 80 and finish 10 shots behind the winner Charl Schwartzel.

But he bounced back to win his first major title by eight shots in the US Open two months later, before adding wins in the 2012 US PGA and both the Open and US PGA last year.

"It was the most important day of my career," he added.

"If I hadn't had the whole unravelling and say I just made a couple of bogeys coming down the stretch and lost by one, I might not have learnt as much. But for it all to come apart how it did I learnt an awful lot.

"I learnt so much about myself and my game and what I needed to do differently.

"Luckily it didn't take me long to get into a position like that again where I was leading a major. I was able to get over the line pretty comfortably."

McIlroy's extraordinary success last year came despite the distractions of calling off his wedding to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and a legal dispute with his former management company which cost him millions of pounds when settled in February.

And he hopes he can again use the golf course as his "sanctuary" from the pressure and hype surrounding the Masters which starts next Thursday.

"The course was my sanctuary, where I could get away from everything," he said.

"I was looking forward to getting to the course and it will be the same at Augusta because there will be so much talk about what could happen.

"There is only so much you can talk about it and then you have to go out and try and play."

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