Dustin Johnson: Winning the Masters is a 'dream come true'
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Rory McIlroy may be entering this year’s Masters surprisingly under the radar but there is always pressure on his shoulders at Augusta with the chance of winning a career Grand Slam and Curtis Strange has some advice for the Northern Irishman. McIlroy has a love-hate relationship with Augusta as his infamous meltdown at the 2011 Masters has continued to follow him.
He became the youngest player to lead after the first round and ended up taking a four-shot lead into Sunday before a dreadful round ruined his chances of a first career major.
McIlroy would of course go on to make amends just a few months later at the US Open.
Wins at the PGA Championship and The Open in 2014 leave just The Masters off McIlroy’s list and he’s finished inside the top 10 on all-but one occasion since then.
Strange, who won back-to-back US Open titles in 1988 and 1989, knows the kind of pressure that McIlroy will be feeling once again this week.
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But the ESPN golf analyst wants to see McIlroy block out all the noise and get back to basics this week.
“We forget that this is for the Grand Slam,” Strange told Express Sport.
“There’s more pressure on Rory at The Masters than anybody else.
“He’ll be a big subject early in the week. ‘Ok, he’s not playing his best so maybe it’s better that he’s going under the radar’ – it’s all just bull****.
“He knows what he has to do and he knows what it’s for and it’s the same every year.”
McIlroy gave a stunningly self-critical interview following his demise at The Players Championship last month, where he admitted to having ruined his swing trying to emulate Bryson DeChambeau.
Strange admits that McIlroy’s candid approach to speaking about the flaws in his game is what makes him such a popular figure across the Atlantic.
And the 66-year-old is hopeful that McIlroy can find his swing this week to be in contention once again for the green jacket.
“It was a very honest and revealing interview,” he added.
“Everybody talked about it over here. Rory is honest to a fault, that’s why we love him and listening to him.
“I get it but he was already one of the very best players in the world. Be that as it may, hopefully he can get back his other feel and other swing in time for The Masters.
“We know how talented this man is throughout the game. We know he has everything there is to have to be No 1 in the world and he’ll go down in history as a great, great player.
“It’s a lot mental and a lot of to do with confidence but the last couple of years have been a bit surprising to me that he hasn’t played better.
“He’s played some really good golf but I guess it’s a backhanded compliment – I think so much of his game and that he’s so good, personally I expect much more out of him than he can give. That’s my problem, not his.”
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