Rory McIlroy will feel no burden at Augusta next week, having acknowledged that previous attempts to win the Masters have been hampered by his mentality.
The Northern Irishman is returning for an 11th crack at the major as he looks to finally complete golf’s Grand Slam, potentially becoming just the sixth player to do so.
McIlroy is rejuvenated, having won The Players Championship already this year, and he believes he is now able to take a relaxed approach at the Masters as he will attach no added pressure to his performance.
The four-time major winner said earlier this season that there was no longer a “need” to triumph at the historic tournament and, speaking ahead of the event, he reiterated the freedom he will feel chasing the green jacket this year.
“If you win, you win,” McIlroy told the Guardian. “If you don’t… I think it has taken me a while to get to this point.
“I’d love to win it. I’m going out there to try my best. Indifferent maybe sounds wrong but I’m not at the point where it’s a burden to me. Not at all.
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“Over the last couple of years, the only thing I feel has held me back between the golf I’ve played and the golf I want to play is mindset. That’s it. Nothing physical, purely how I’ve approached things mentally.
“I have made a good effort this year to treat every week the same. It is never any different; you are playing four rounds, out there trying to win. It is all about perception and meaning.
“Augusta only means so much to people because of what they attach to it. The only reason Augusta means so much to me is because of what I attach to it.
“So if I take some of that away, it is not easy but it can be done. It’s just trying to see things in a bigger picture, taking a step away from this tiny little bubble that is the golf world.”
And McIlroy believes he will get another chance to win the Masters even if he cannot deliver this time.
“The first time I let it go, in 2011, I didn’t know how many chances I was going to have,” he said. “Now I’m pretty confident I’m going to have more chances to win at Augusta.”