McIlroy eyes ‘awesome’ Grand Slam with Masters win

MIAMI (AFP) – Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday achieving a career Grand Slam at the Masters next month would be “awesome” for golf as he warms up for Augusta at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 29-year-old Northern Irishman could become only the sixth player to win all four major titles with a victory at the Masters, an elite club that both Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson can also enter this season.

Talking to reporters at Bay Hill on Wednesday, McIlroy said any player who manages to enter the pantheon alongside Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods would deliver a boost to the sport.

“I mean, how good would that be for golf? That would be awesome,” McIlroy said.

“But I think just because it is a small list it would be just that bit cooler to join.

Rory McIlroy speaks to the media. – AFP

“It’s all about exposure and golf would be right in the centre of all sports stories if that were to happen, which is great for everyone involved in the game.”

McIlroy, who teed off alongside reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed and Marc Leishman yesterday, has made four previous attempts to complete his set of majors but come up short on each occasion.

And that doesn’t count McIlroy’s epic 2011 Masters collapse, where he led entering the final round but struggled to an 80 last Sunday and only finished in a share of 15th place.

However, the world number six believes he is more mentally attuned to the challenge of adding the Masters to his collection of four major titles.

“It has definitely taken me time to come to terms with the things I’ve needed to deal with inside my own head,” McIlroy said.