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Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley believes the agony of 2011 will help motivate Rory McIlroy to justify his favourite’s tag at the US Masters and help him become the first European to wear the famous green jacket in 15 years.
Not since Jose Maria Olazabal claimed the first major of the year in 1999 has the tournament been won by a European. McIlroy appeared destined to end the European drought three years ago when he led the field by four shots before imploding on the inward nine to card an 80.
“Rory has unfinished business around here,” said McGinley. “He was able to bounce back and win his next major, which shows you there’s no scar tissue. He played better than anyone for three-and-a-half rounds in 2011, so it suits him.
“He’s obviously found his game again and he’s playing well. Fingers crossed. He needs to get off to a good start.
That’s the key.”
With a best finish of 15th in five previous outings, McIlroy has largely struggled to tame Augusta’s notoriously quick greens.
But the overall pre-tournament favourite insists he has no hang ups about the course and feels his past performances in Augusta have been better than his record implies
“I certainly feel comfortable on the golf course here,” said the 24-year-old. “There’s a lot of guys that seem like once they drive up Magnolia Lane, something sort of lights up inside them.
“I’m disappointed that my best finish was only 15th. I feel like I’ve played better than that and haven’t quite got the results. Hopefully I can change that this week.”