As the final step to completing the career grand slam, winning the Masters has been on Rory McIlroy's mind for a long time -- so much so that he said he'd feel unfulfilled if he didn't capture the green jacket at least once in his career.
In an interview with ESPN's Marty Smith, McIlroy opened up about what golf means to him and his family, and what he's learned about Augusta and his game from his few failed trips there.
"I'd love to give you an answer and say my life is already fulfilled, with everything that's happened, and everything that's going to happen in the future, by starting a family and all that," McIlroy said. "But if I didn't have a green jacket, there'd be a tiny piece that would just be missing. It really would be. And yeah, I'd be lying if I said, as a person...I wouldn't be fulfilled if I didn't get it."
McIlroy's closest chance to owning the coveted piece of clothing came in 2011, when he squandered a four-shot lead going into the final round, his dreams derailed by a disastrous back nine that included a triple-bogey on the 10th hole. He came close again last year, playing in the final group with Jordan Spieth on Saturday, before shooting 77 and 71 in rounds three and four, respectively, to finish T10.
Those stumbles, particularly 2011, taught the four-time major champion some important lessons; after the collapse at Augusta, McIlroy went on to win his first major at the 2011 U.S. Open.
This season, McIlroy has finished in the top-10 in three of the four events he's played (he was off for a few months recovering from a fractured rib). Can he pull out that elusive Masters win next week?
"I said it in an interview when I was 8 years old -- I want to be the best golfer in the world and I want to win all the majors," McIlroy said. "I've nearly done all of that. There's one piece of the puzzle that's missing."
You can watch the full interview here.