McIlroy keen to ditch Masters ‘Grand Slam’ monkey

Talk about tackling hurdles, for all the major championships they have won, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson would be the first to admit they both carry some “baggage” when it comes to a few of them.

For Mickelson it is that pressure to win his own country’s Open, the US Open.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy

And for Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, it is the desire to win the US Masters to become just the sixth player of all time to win all four majors.

As he tries to have his game peak at Augusta this week, McIlroy admitted he knew just how Mickelson must feel as he comes into one of the biggest weeks of the year, seemingly with a ‘monkey’ on his back.

McIlroy is attempting to have all his ducks in order as he prepares for his biggest week of the year and has been playing practice rounds at Augusta National as well getting a few of his chats with the press out of the way as well.

This year is McIlroy’s third shot at joining those five elite players in the history of the game to win all four majors.

“Certainly it’s a motivation, to be able to put your name alongside those five guys,” said the Northern Irishman.

“I think each and every year that passes that I don’t [win the Masters], it will become increasingly difficult.”

“I sort of feel a little bit like what Phil (Mickelson) goes through when he goes to the US Open.”

“At the same time I haven’t finished second at Augusta six times and he’s finished second (that many times in the US Open).”

“I can only imagine what goes through his head when he turns up at a US Open.”

“Winning at Augusta is difficult enough, but I think the most important thing is just to beat the guys that you’re playing against.”

“If you do that, you know that all this other great stuff comes along with it.”

“I feel like I’m a good enough player; I feel like I’ve got everything I need to become a Masters champion.”

“It’s the biggest tournament of the year for me, for obvious reasons, and I’ve never made any secret about that.”

Mickelson already has a couple of Green Jackets in his wardrobe but in 2013 he captured the third leg of the big four in winning The British Open at Muirfield, leaving just the US Open to give him his ‘Slam’.