Rory McIlroy searching for confidence with Masters looming

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

With one tournament left to prepare for his bid to complete a career grand slam at next month’s Masters, Rory McIlroy says he is disappointed with his form and his ‘tentative’ approach to shots.

The world number one shot an even-par 72 in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday, leaving him one-under for the week and well back of the leaders.

A frustrating week, which included the infamous tossing of a three-iron into a pond and in which his ball-striking has been below his usual standards, ended with a double-bogey at the 18th.

The offending three iron was retrieved by a diver on Saturday and presented to McIlroy on the range by Doral’s owner Donald Trump, who was heard to tell onlookers that “13 is an unlucky number”.

“The game’s just not quite there. I’ve got a week off now to try and work on it a little bit,” said McIlroy, who missed the cut at last week’s Honda Classic.

“I am pretty disappointed with how I played overall. I felt it was a little better again today for the most part but a bit of a disappointing finish. But it’s just not quite 100 percent.”

McIlroy will visit Augusta National next week for a friendly round with his father and Super Bowl winning-quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots before heading to Bay Hill, Orlando, for the March 19-22 Arnold Palmer Invitational, his last scheduled event before the Masters.

Rory added; “My inability to hit the ball right-to-left isn’t something that you want going into Augusta. It is something I want to try and work on a little bit.

“Statistically, I hit the ball better today. Still it’s just not quite as comfortable as I would like.

“I’ve got a week off now to try to work on the game a bit and get a little sharper for Bay Hill.

“(I’m) tentative, a little bit scared to play certain shots, because I feel like I can’t at the minute.

“So, hitting away from flags, trying to make sure that I am missing it in the right areas. Just playing quite conservatively, which is very much unlike me.

“I have just got to get back at it tomorrow and try to figure out what I need to do.”

Dustin Johnson won the event, carding a final round 69 to edge out overnight leader J B Holmes.

Graeme McDowell carded a final round 77 to finish in a tie for 56th. Ireland’s Shane Lowry finished tied for 17th after a final round 74.

Johnson ruled himself out of the Ryder Cup last year by taking a lengthy break from the game, prompting allegations in the United States of a positive test for cocaine - claims which have dogged him for several years but which he has always strenuously denied.

“I knew I was really good. I just knew there was something that I was missing that could make myself great. I have really been working hard on that and I think it’s working right now,” he said,

“I’m so excited right now I can hardly talk. It feels great and it’s definitely by far the best one (victory).”