McIlroy confident of Masters challenge

Rory McIlroy feels his game is in good enough shape to win again and is upbeat about his chances of claiming the Masters.

The 28-year-old failed to win a tournament anywhere in the world in 2017 and last tasted success at the 2016 Tour Championship in Atlanta – a victory that saw him clinch the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and a $10m bonus.

Problems on the putting surface thwarted his progress last year and he has now slipped from the top of the world rankings to 10th.

Having ended last year prematurely to rest his ailing body, the Northern Irishman has hit the ground running this season on the European Tour, with a share of third in Abu Dhabi while he finished second in Dubai.

Things have not gone so well back stateside, with a tied-20th at the Genesis Open his best return from three starts.

All eyes will soon be on Augusta when the year’s first major comes around in April and the Ryder Cup star is confident he could make a splash at the Masters.

“At Augusta you don’t need to putt great, you need to not waste any shots, no three putts, hole everything inside five feet,” McIlroy told BBC Sport NI. “I feel good about Augusta, I know the golf course so well.”

McIlroy has been working with his putting coach Phil Kenyon and believes that he is now where he needs to be.

“You don’t need to hole every 15 footer that you look at, you need to be efficient, just not to be wasteful,” he added.

“Speed is import and lag putting, they are big keys and I feel like I’ve started to get lot better at that, especially there because there is a lot of break and a lot of different slopes but I think I have it figured out.”

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