Can McIlroy Finally End Augusta Drought?

Rory McIlroy has been frustrated over the past two years in his bid to add to his collection of Major crowns. The Northern Irishman last tasted success in a slam at the PGA Championship in 2014, but since then he has failed to close out another title win.

McIlroy still remains one of the top three players in the world, with only Jason Day and Jordan Spieth for company. The 27-year-old is arguably the most naturally talented player on the tour, but a lack of form and injuries have halted his charge to bolster his trophy cabinet.

The Masters will present his first chance to notch his fifth Major, although he is currently battling a rib injury. The Northern Irishman is backed at 8/1 in the latest golf betting odds to win the crown at Augusta for the first time in his career, eradicating memories of his infamous collapse in 2011.

McIlroy appeared to be on his way to his first Green Jacket six years ago after putting in three excellent rounds to take a four-shot lead into the final day of the competition. However, he endured a torrid time on the back nine, dropping six shots on three holes, eventually finishing well off the pace at tied-15th with a final round of eight-over 80.

He responded to the setback by recording his maiden Major win at the US Open two months later, and although he struggled with consistency in 2012, McIlroy added the PGA Championship to his collection with a fine performance in South Carolina.

The Northern Irishman reached the peak of his powers in 2014 by recording impressive wins at The Open and notching his second PGA Championship crown. However, the Green Jacket still eluded him by placing in tied-eighth, while he was forced to watch in 2015 as his great rival Spieth secured the win at Augusta, despite strong displays on the final two days of the competition.

“Rory McIlroy” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Ed Balaun (supergolfdude)

McIlroy will have empathised with the American as he collapsed on the back nine to miss out on his second Masters crown last year. Spieth was in a commanding position but his error on the 12th hole allowed Danny Willett to snatch the Green Jacket from under his nose. McIlroy was too far back in the pack to make a similar surge after a poor third round, recording a five-over display of 77.

As a result, the Northern Irishman still needs to taste success at Augusta to complete his collection of Major titles, although he will need to get back to peak form ahead of the competition. The 27-year-old has revealed that he will not return to action until March, giving him just one month to find his rhythm for the tournament.

McIlroy’s past performances on the course suggest that he should not struggle to find his tempo – bar his collapse in 2011. His desperation to add the Masters crown to his collection could fuel the desire for a flawless performance, while his natural talent should also offset any issues regarding his lack of playing time. His failure to add the Green Jacket to his array of achievements has overshadowed his career. A win at Augusta could kickstart an extremely successful 2017 season.

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