AUGUSTA, Ga. – The minimal second cut at Augusta National is making a difference this week – at least according to Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy’s pursuit of the career Grand Slam will head into next year after he dropped out of contention at the Masters following a Saturday 71 that left him well off the pace.
McIlroy entered this year’s tournament as the prohibitive favorite, not just because of his track record here (five consecutive top-10s) but his current form, which included a victory last month at The Players. But the four-time major champion hasn’t been sharp from tee to green.
McIlroy has found only 50 percent of the fairways this week – well below the field average – and bemoaned all of the fliers he’s gotten out of the second cut, which was mowed at the beginning of the week at just 1 3/8 inches.
“The rough this year is about a quarter or half of an inch longer than it usually is, and it’s just hard to get control of your ball out of it,” he said. “I just haven’t driven it in the fairway enough to have control going into the greens.”
McIlroy was asked how such little rough could wreak such havoc.
“Because usually the ball comes out spinning out of the rough, and just being that little bit longer, you get fliers, basically,” he said. “But just to not have control of your golf ball and to sort of be guessing – to guess what distance your ball is going to go around here is never a good scenario.”