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Rory McIlroy admits to feeling the pressure ahead of Masters

08 April 2017

The year's opening major, which begins Thursday at Augusta National, is always the most heavily anticipated of the four and, with a myriad of compelling storylines bubbling during the tournament buildup, this year's edition is rich with promise.

Spieth handled the ceremony with class, and later put the 2016 Masters in perspective.

I said that he'd reach that spot by the Masters or perhaps the US Open, but he got there even faster than I thought he would and is very comfortable in that position.

"To hit the shots I needed to at the right time and give myself a cushion to play the last couple [of] holes, it was special", Fowler said.

"I feel like my game is really solid right now", Johnson said.

The world number two, who won the last of his four major titles in 2014, has played 99 practice holes at Augusta over the last two weeks.

"I tapped it in, Arnie (Palmer) style", he said.

They say the Masters does not start until the back nine on Sunday, an adage borne out by Jordan Spieth's dramatic collapse and Danny Willett's subsequent triumph a year ago. He appreciates that spectators cheered and stood for him as he attempted to rally, calling it "one of the coolest moments I've ever had at the Masters".

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Having said that, this year already feels a bit different, because - in what has turned into the norm - Tiger Woods will not be not playing in this year's tournament. "That's the last thing I needed", he said. "I think that's part of what makes putting so hard here". "Like I said, I'm just trying to save my best stuff for here". And I felt like I handle situations better out here than other places.

All together Australia's first Masters Champion comes into the first Major of the year full of confidence.

"I know when I'm going to try to attack and make birdies based on where the pin is, based on the wind. You just forget that maybe you should have spent a little bit more time with your family and spending more time with them and just enjoying the love".

For Jordan Spieth, this year is a chance to finally rid himself of the memory of the quadruple-bogey from last year's disaster of a tournament.

Scott missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open last week but rather than seeing this as a negative, the Queenslander used his weekend for some extra Masters preparations.

Back in February, golf star Rory McIlroy hit the links with the president at Trump's course in West Palm Beach, FL.

McIlroy has made a believer out of 81-year-old South African legend Gary Player. He was nice enough to let me bring (my brother) Keith along to play with us back in December.

"That (short game) has been a big focus of mine for the first few months of this year and I've seen some improvements, certainly, in stats and just generally how I feel about it".

Rory McIlroy admits to feeling the pressure ahead of Masters