Masters 2024: Late arrival, early press exit for Rory McIlroy on Tuesday at Augusta

Masters 2024: Late arrival, early press exit for Rory McIlroy on Tuesday at Augusta
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy made a hasty exit from the interview room Tuesday at Augusta National.

After an intentionally late start, there was work to do.

Searching for the formula that will lead him to finally complete the career Grand Slam, McIlroy didn’t arrive into the area until about midday Tuesday to begin his tournament-week preparations at the Masters.

“I guess just trying to bring a little bit of normalcy into what I try to do week-in, week-out,” he said.

McIlroy did most of his Augusta National homework last week when he played two practice rounds ahead of the Valero Texas Open. Though he didn’t seriously contend at TPC San Antonio, he saw signs of improvement with his approach play and finished third, his best finish this season on the PGA Tour (he won in Dubai earlier this year).

After the Valero, McIlroy flew home to South Florida for a “reset” before jetting up to Georgia on Tuesday – similar to what he’d do for a regular event.

“I play 25 weeks a year, and there’s no point in doing anything different this week compared to other weeks,” he said. “I feel like I’ve already got most of my prep work done. So it’s just about going out there and being relaxed and being in the right frame of mind. And the more I can do that, the more I’ll be able to execute on the golf course.”

This will be McIlroy’s 10th attempt to complete the final leg of the career Grand Slam. Over the past several years, he has tweaked and tinkered with his preparation and strategy, but with relatively little success. He has failed to break par in the opening round of each of his last five Masters appearances, with an average score of 73.8 – often leaving himself too far back to seriously contend. He has missed the cut two of the past three years.

A look at the tee times and groupings for the first two rounds at Augusta National.

That has led to this latest plan, arriving just a half-hour before his scheduled 12:30 p.m. news conference on Tuesday, the busiest work day of the week. McIlroy offered no opening remarks, and the presser ended about 13 minutes after it started – significantly shorter than, say, Tiger Woods, who was in the interview room an hour earlier.

Though he believes he has the physical tools to win, McIlroy is aware that equally as important is his head space this week. He said he is “not trying to win it from the first tee shot” while attempting to be disciplined and patient.

“No question, he’ll do it at some point,” Woods said of McIlroy’s Masters bid. “Rory is too talented, too good. He’s going to be playing this event for a very long time. He’ll get it done. It’s just a matter of when.

“I think that Rory will be a great Masters champion one day, and it could be this week. You never know. I just think that the talent that he has, the way he plays the game and the golf course fits his eye, it’s just a matter of time.”

McIlroy’s latest attempt to break the streak begins at 10:32 a.m. ET Thursday, alongside Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

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