Like most top golfers, the Masters is the focus for Rory McIlroy. McIlroy has won three majors but has never conquered the Masters. His last major win came in 2014 when he won both the PGA Championship and The Open Championship. McIlroy recently spoke with his friend Tiger Woods, who is recovering from his well-publicized car crash in February. He left that conversation with some valuable insight heading into the Masters.
McIlroy seeking his first Masters title
Rory McIlroy is no stranger to winning golf majors. It’s just the Masters that’s eluded him. McIlroy is the owner of four major championships, including a pair of PGA Championships in 2012 and 2014. He’s also claimed The Open Championship in 2014 and also won the U.S, Open in 2011.
McIlroy is headed to his 13th Masters this week. A year ago, he finished tied for fifth and it was the sixth time in his career he’s finished in the top 10 at the event. His best finish came in 2015 when he came in fourth place. McIlroy led after three rounds in 2011 but had an epic collapse on the final day of the tournament.
McIlroy holds a total of 18 PGA Tour victories, four of which are majors. The 31-year-old turned pro in 2017 when he was 18 years old. McIlroy is in some great company in the golf world. He, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus have won four majors by the time they were 25 years old.
McIlroy and Tiger Woods are close
Like most young golfers, Rory McIlroy grew up idolizing Tiger Woods. McIlroy and Woods grew closer over their playing days and are now considered good friends. Woods was in a serious car accident in February and will not be taking part in the 2021 Masters.
“Anytime Tiger Woods tees it up in a golf tournament, it’s better,” McIlroy said, according to Golf.com. “It’s better for the tournament. It’s better for the players that are involved and it’s better for everyone.”
McIlroy recently visited Woods after the accident and said there is a chance Tiger could be ready for the 2022 Masters. “Broken bones heal, and he’s just got to take it step by step,” McIlroy said. “But I know he’d love to be here, and I’m sure he’s going to put everything he has into trying to be ready to play here next year.”
McIlroy gained some insight from a recovering Tiger Woods
Just ahead of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament in March, Rory McIlroy decided to pay his friend Tiger Woods a visit. A month earlier, Woods was seriously injured in a car accident and McIlroy wanted to see how he was doing. He wound up leaving Woods’ house with some valuable insight he’ll take with him to the Masters.
He explained the situation Tuesday at the Augusta National press room. “I went over to Tiger’s house a few weeks ago to see him, and in his family room he’s got his trophy cabinet and it’s his 15 major trophies,” McIlroy said, according to Golf.com. “I said, ‘That’s really cool. Where are all the others?’ referring to the 67 other trophies Woods has accumulated. “He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I go, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yeah, my mom has some and a few are in the office and a few are wherever.'”
That stuck with McIlroy all the way home. “I was driving home, and I was thinking (those major trophies) are all he cared about. All he cared about. So how easy must that have felt for him to win all the others? That was just always in my mind. He talked about how these are the four weeks that matter. But I’m just thinking to myself, how easy must that have felt for him if all he cared about were four weeks a year. The other stuff must have been like practice. So that’s a cool perspective to have, right? Yeah — that’s all I could think about on the way home.”