Rory McIlroy ‘didn’t quite have it’ on Masters Sunday as he failed to replicate any of the form that he took into the final round.
Not only did McIlroy fail to keep pace with Patrick Reed, he also fell behind Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm in a final round littered with mistakes off the tee and putts missed from short range.
As the Northern Irishman faltered on Sunday, so the door was locked on entrance into golf’s elite club – The Career Grand Slam – which remains at just five.
‘Yeah, I mean, look, I can’t give you a good answer to that right now,’ he said after fading into the background of one of the most thrilling final acts in modern golf.
‘But I’ll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have potentially done better. More whether it be mindset or – I don’t know, I just didn’t quite have it today. I played some great golf yesterday. I just didn’t continue that golf into today.’
McIlroy was supposed to take the final round at a canter. He was backed by the home crowd over Reed, a player that has manfully done duty for America and the college just down the path from Augusta National.
The foreigner was the home favourite but he couldn’t muster it when it mattered most.
‘Look, it is, of course, it’s frustrating. But it’s hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in the position.
‘That’s all I wanted to do. The last four years I’ve had top‑10s, but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there. I didn’t quite do enough. But, you know, come back again next year and try.’
It would be foolish to think McIlroy would now simply give up and be content with three legs of the slam while he has also never attended the Champions Dinner.
His record at Augusta remains excellent but for the crowning prize.
Only one more year until he goes again. But before then, both Phil Mickelson (US Open) and Jordan Spieth (PGA Championship) will stand at the door, waiting to see if they have the key to enter the most limited section in golf’s upper pantheon.