AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - For those who believe in such things, the numbers indicate that maybe the time has come for 28-year-old Rory McIlroy, playing in his 10th U.S. Masters, to add a Green Jacket to his resume.
Two golfing greats, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, won the Masters on their 10th trip to Augusta and, if that coincidence is not enough to show fate may be in McIlroy’s corner this week, the revered Arnold Palmer slipped into his first Green Jacket at 28.
For his part, the Northern Irishman does not necessarily believe that 10 and 28 is the combination to unlock a Masters victory or that Augusta National owes him anything.
But the practical McIlroy does believe he has put in the hard work and that will pay off on Sunday with an elusive Masters win to complete his set of major titles.
“There’s loads of different numbers you could throw around,” he told reporters on Tuesday, with a smile. “There’s a lot of different comparisons you could make but it’s all really meaningless unless you go out there and actually do it.
“But I feel like I’ve been here long enough and I’ve played enough rounds around here to know how to play this golf course well and well enough to win.
“I never come in here thinking I’ve served my time and this is my turn because it’s never your turn.
“You have to go out and get it. It’s not going to fall into your lap, you have to go out and win the Masters and you have to go and earn it.”
When it comes to the Masters, despite his proclaimed love for Augusta National, the golfing Gods have not been kind and have occasionally even been cruel to McIlroy.
A shocking final round meltdown that ripped the 2011 Green Jacket off McIlroy’s back continues to haunt him even though he claims it was a learning experience.
Leading by four strokes going into the last day, McIlroy suffered one of the worst final-round collapses of all time in a major, tumbling out of contention with an eight-over-par 80 that was almost unbearable to watch and left him in a tie for 15th.
“I place a lot of importance on what happened here in 2011,” said McIlroy, who arrives in Augusta riding the momentum from a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I feel like it made me a better player, I feel like it made me a better person, it definitely was a character builder.
“It took me a while to get over it, but I knew if I looked at the big picture it would serve me well in the long run.
“I don’t think I would have had the career I’ve had so far if it wasn’t for that day.”
Editing by Ken Ferris