Masters 2013: Winning green jacket would 'mean everything' to Rory McIlroy

The world number two is out of form heading to Augusta

The statistics on Rory McIlroy's season so far have become depressingly familiar.

A missed cut in Abu Dhabi in his first event with new equipment as part of a multi-million pound sponsorship deal. A first-round defeat in the Accenture Match Play. A withdrawal from the Honda Classic and subsequent apology. A solitary top-10 finish and loss of status as world number one.

But in case anyone was in any doubt, the Northern Irishman is fully focused on winning a first Green Jacket in next week's US Masters.

"It would mean everything," the 23-year-old said. "I'm halfway to the career Grand Slam and that's one of the pieces of the puzzle. The Open Championship is the other.

"That's a big goal for me - to try to win more major championships. I feel like I'm at a stage now where, sure I want to win other tournaments, but the majors are the focus."

McIlroy already has the US Open and US PGA Championship titles under his belt, winning both by eight shots and looking almost untouchable at the end of 2012, when he followed his triumph at Kiawah Island with back-to-back wins in the United States, a starring role in Europe's Ryder Cup 'Miracle at Medinah' and victory in the season-ending Dubai World Tour Championship.

In following Luke Donald in topping the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year, McIlroy already looked set for life, but then came confirmation in January this year of the worst-kept secret in golf - an enormous sponsorship deal with Nike that catapulted him into the upper echelons of sport's top earners.

It was a switch labelled "dangerous" by six-time major winner Nick Faldo, who looked to have been vindicated when McIlroy shot two rounds of 75 in Abu Dhabi and then lost to Shane Lowry in Arizona, and things went from bad to worse when McIlroy walked off the course midway through his second round at the Honda Classic.

Initially telling reporters he was in a "bad place mentally", McIlroy subsequently blamed the pain from a wisdom tooth for his early exit, but the following week admitted that was no excuse for his behaviour and repaired the damage with a well-handled apology.

Later that month saw McIlroy lose his world number one ranking to Nike stablemate Tiger Woods, who will seek a fifth Masters title on the back of three wins already this season.

But Woods knows better than anyone about the highs and lows of life in the golfing spotlight, and McIlroy is prepared to accept both as long as the former outweigh the latter.

"I don't care if I miss 10 cuts in a row if I win a major a year," insisted McIlroy, agreeing with Padraig Harrington's claim that consistency is over-rated. "That's what it's all about - winning the big tournaments.

"Of course, it's not going to be great for your confidence going into those majors if you're missing 10 cuts in a row, but when people look back on a person's career, you don't say 'Jack Nicklaus was so consistent'.

"You could say he finished 19 times second in a major. But what you think about is the 18 majors he won. That's what people remember. People remember the wins.

"They don't remember that I shot 65 at Doral to finish eighth. They remember the wins and they remember the high points. It's only a minority that will remember the low points and will get on you for that.

"I remember last year, my five wins, my second major championship, the Ryder Cup, winning player of the year. I don't remember missing four or five cuts or whatever it was in the middle of the season. I mean, I remember, but that's not what I think about. I think about the high points."

McIlroy is also learning from his mistakes and that nothing should ever be written in stone.

Last year he took three weeks off before the Masters, saying he usually did well when he felt fresh.

"I feel like if this was my third week in a row, there might be bad shots or bad putts that creep into your mind from the previous week," he said at the time.

Twelve months on, the Masters will be his third event in a row after the late addition of the Valero Texas Open to his schedule. McIlroy will be hoping that is just another statistic to be overshadowed by a new, distinctly coloured, addition to his wardrobe.

PA

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin