LONDON: Rory McIlroy is not putting any pressure on himself as he goes in search of the Masters title this week.
The 28-year-old needs to get his hands on the green jacket to complete the career grand slam, having already won the Open, The US Open and the PGA Championship. But rather than get obsessed by completing the quartet of major victories, McIlroy insisted he is going to head to the famous Augusta course relaxed.
"(Putting yourself under pressure) is the worst thing to do," McIlroy told The Guardian.
"There is already a lot of that from outside. You don't want to compound that. The more you can freewheel it, relish it as an opportunity to do something great and enjoy it, the better."
While it has been long assumed that McIlroy will win the Masters -- his game is seen as the perfect fit for the fabled course -- he is without a major win since August 2014. But his recent win at Bay Hill ended an 18-month stretch without a title and he is heading to Augusta in a relaxed, confident mood.
"It took Phil Mickelson how many tries until he got over the line in 2004? Now he has three green jackets. The more you play it, the more you get comfortable, not just on the course but as soon as you get inside the gates," he said.
"It is such a different week. It's an event run by the members, it isn't a normal tournament week.
"That's why I always take a trip up prior because it makes you more comfortable, even to the point of saying hello to the staff and the chairman. There's a lot of stuff you don't have to do any other week because you're not there again. At Augusta you make an effort."
One trap he is not going to fall into is thinking that a Masters victory will definitely come his way.
"People would think it's on my mind all the time," he said. "Listen, I'd love the green jacket in the closet, to go back every year and use the champions' locker room, to host dinner as the champion. Nobody could ever take that away from you. But I think about the Masters the week before I play it because that's when I prepare for it.
"No one is owed anything, due anything, it's not my turn," he said. "I don't believe in that stuff. My dad always used to say to me: 'If it's for you, it won't go past you,' and I hate that line because that's not how it works. You have to go and do it yourself. It doesn't just magically fall into your lap. I'm not due anything, I don't deserve anything. Everyone starts on an even playing field on Thursday morning. Whoever plays the best will win."
With Tiger Woods finding form having registered two consecutive top-five finishes and Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson all heading to the year's first major in confident mood, there is much hope that this could turn out to be a tournament to remember. Indeed, the timing of Woods and McIlroy's return to form could not have been better in terms of increasing anticipation levels for the famous tournament. One thing is certain, however, and that is whatever happens McIlroy will take it in his stride.
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