The Loop

Overshadowed by Tiger's reappearance, Rory McIlroy is ready to win

April 07, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He might be the world's top-ranked golfer, but when it comes to public and media interest -- in the U.S. especially -- Rory McIlroy is still no number 111. Not yet anyway. Both spent time in the Masters media center today with the numerical also-ran Tiger Woods emerging victorious by 7-2. Rory was asked seven Tiger-related questions; Tiger responded to only two in which the Irishman featured.

Indeed, despite his favored status and the fact that he is right now quite clearly the best player on the planet, McIlroy wasn't tooting too many horns with regard to his chances of completing the career Grand Slam come Sunday evening. Pressed to reveal whom he sees as favorite this week, the reigning Open and PGA champion hemmed and hawed only a little before nominating two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson.

"He's won here two of the last three years," pointed out McIlroy. "Perfect game for this course. Been playing really well. Seems confident every time he tees up. If you're looking for someone that will do well this week, Bubba is the main guy."

And when it came to yet another Tiger question, McIlroy was even quicker to acknowledge that the 14-time major champion "was a hero of mine growing up."

View image |  Still, this session with his close personal friends in the media wasn't all about things that have gone pear-shaped and the prospect of someone other than himself slipping into golf's most-iconic garment. McIlroy left the assembled throng on a positive note. "I said this in Florida and I said it again last week: 'If Augusta was to start tomorrow, I'd be OK. I'm ready. I've been ready for this thing to start for a week already." Alrighty, with less than two days to go before he tees off at 10:41 a.m. on Thursday morning in the company of Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore, all he has to do is remain patient.