Rory McIlroy believes his Players Championship glory has provided him with the answer to finally crack The Masters code in three weeks’ time.
The Irishman has broken the habit of a lifetime and has finally learned to focus solely within. The 29-year-old has risen back to world No 4 after winning the event known as “the unofficial fifth major”. McIlroy’s one-shot triumph over Jim Furyk in a field boasting every member of the world’s top 50 was his first victory in more than a year. Yet although the likes of Jack Nicklaus went on social media with their congratulations, McIlroy was determined not to get caught up with the hype.
Not so long ago, the Irishman had alerts set up on his phone so he could see articles and clips posted about him, but he has purposefully turned off the stream. This allowed him to avoid all of the negativity which greeted his first five tournaments of the year, in which he finished in the top six each time but failed to make it over the winning line.
“I’m proudest of my attitude and my mentality, not just on Sunday but throughout the year and not letting all those close misses get to me, not letting the noise that built up around me get to me,” he said. “I’ve been disciplined in not reading anything about myself, not watching anything about myself, sort of wrapping myself in my own little world. At lunchtime on Sunday, I was having lunch and the Golf Channel was on. I asked the guys to put it on mute. I just didn’t need to hear it. It’s stuff you don’t think is affecting you, but it could get in there.”