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Rory McIlroy explains what a 'great' autumn of golf might look like after coronavirus pandemic

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Rory McIlroy is hoping fans will have a huge autumn of golf.

Rory McIlroy is hoping fans will have a huge autumn of golf.

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Rory McIlroy is hoping fans will have a huge autumn of golf.

Rory McIlroy is hoping that fans will have a golfing eruption to look forward to later this year.

The European and PGA Tours have both ground to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the year's first two majors - the Masters and the US PGA Championships - already postponed.

The US Open and the Open Championship, scheduled for June and July respectively, could also be set for a shuffle down the calendar.

So, as the western world is entering various stages of lockdown, fans everywhere could do with some light at the end of the tunnel.

The globe's top golfer is already fixing his sights on an explosion of sport late in the year, including a potential autumn Masters.

"Augusta play their cards close to their chest, they don't really let much out of the bag," he told Jamie Redknapp as part of an Instagram Q&A.

"I hope that they play it in October, which is the rumour. It would be great. Potentially, you are looking at four majors, a Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup (PGA Tour play-offs) in the space of 12 weeks, if it does happen.

"Say the Open has to move back to September, you might have the PGA Championship in August, then the Fed Ex Cup, then the Open Championship, the Ryder Cup, the Masters and maybe the US Open gets pushed back to October or November.

"If we all get back to playing around mid-summer, it is going to be a hectic 12 or 15 weeks of all the big events."

If and when there is some sort of revised schedule put together, whatever it may or may not include, it will certainly give McIlroy added motivation to return to golf-mode.

"I need something to practice for," he explained of his lockdown mindset, having not touched a club for a fortnight already. "I have no idea when we are going to play again and I'd rather build myself up to something.

"I know if I go out there and hit balls, I'm not doing it for any purpose.

"I love golf and it has given me a lot of really great things but I think I love the competition more. If there's no competition and there's nothing to look forward to, I don't really see the point in practicing.

"If the tour say to us 'we're going to start in four weeks' then perfect, I have a little runway so I can work on things and get ready.

"Right now, I am just enjoying spending some time at home, getting after it in the gym, and spending time by the pool or playing tennis.

"I realise there are a lot of us who are very fortunate to have gyms in our house so that we can keep busy and other people don't have that luxury.

"Hopefully everything gets back to normality in the next couple of months and we can get going again."

If and when the 2020 Masters does take place, it will give McIlroy another opportunity to complete the much-talked-about career Grand Slam, joining only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.

"I still have plenty more chances," he said.

"I'm 30 years old, Tiger was 43 when he won at Augusta (last year). I feel like I've still got 10 to 15 years left of my career and my prime.

"I keep saying I have plenty of time, but every year that you don't do it, obviously the pressure ramps up."

Woods' 16th major in 2019 bridged an 11 year gap since his 15th success. It was a victory that took the sporting world by storm, boyhood fan McIlroy included.

"I met Tiger when I was 15, it was unbelievable," he said of his relationship with the golfing legend.

"I've got to know him pretty well. Since he's had kids and gone through his stuff he's definitely mellowed as a person. But Tiger at the Masters, it could be the best ever comeback in sports.

"Anytime Tiger's in contention, it's a pay rise for everyone in golf, more eyeballs, better ratings on TV. It was an unbelievable moment for the game of golf.

"He's the one who can transcend golf. I'm not sure anyone else in golf can make front page news."

Right now, we'd all settle for some proper sport to return and fill the back pages.

Belfast Telegraph