Tiger’s Masters comeback ‘to help’ McIlroy land Grand Slam

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He hasn’t yet confirmed he will definitely take his place at Augusta National, but should Tiger Woods reappear from his self-inflicted exile at the Masters 2015, it can only aid Rory McIlroy’s chances.

This is according to McIlroy’s Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley at least.

McGinley said: “Look what happens at the US PGA last year, all the talk is Tiger going to play, is he not going to play? At the time Rory was favourite but all the expectation, all the talk, all you guys were focused on Tiger.

“Rory didn’t sneak in the backdoor, but he was able to go about his business without the attention on him.”

The Irishman makes a very valid point. Although McIlroy’s meteoric rise in the game has even ensured he has now replaced Woods as the subject of EA Sports’ signature golf video game for 2015; only the media circus surrounding the 14-time Major winner can properly deflect the attention away from him.

McIlroy is a 4/1 shot to follow in Woods’ sizeable footsteps by winning the Masters and thereby becoming one of only seven players to have claimed golf’s Grand Slam.

However, he has to overcome a love-hate relationship with Augusta’s beautifully manicured layout and exorcising the demons of 2011 would be so much easier if Woods was hogging some of the limelight.

On that famous occasion almost four years ago, McIlory let a four-shot overnight lead evaporate when shooting a disastrous final-round 80.

In each of the three editions since then the Ulsterman has stayed in contention only to spoil three good rounds with a score of 77 or higher at some point over the four days.

More clues on just how well McIlroy is preparing for the challenge of obtaining a maiden Green Jacket will be revealed when the 5/1 favourite takes to the field for the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational.

This is due to be Wee-Mac’s last tournament start before the Masters.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.