Rory McIlroy ready to take boring approach to win Masters

Rory McIlroy ready to take boring route to long-awaited Masters success
Rory McIlroy is aiming to find form before the Masters

Rory McIlroy says he is determined to go against his naturally swashbuckling style and “bore” his way to a long-awaited green jacket at the Masters next week.

This will be the Northern Irishman’s 10th attempt to become just the sixth male player in history to complete the career grand slam and after a series of letdowns at Augusta, McIlroy is going in with a conservative strategy that is decidedly un-Rory.

“Good golf at Augusta feels like boring golf and I think that’s something that I’ve always struggled with, because that’s not my game,” he said. “To me it’s the biggest test of discipline and of patience of the year. It’s about not being tempted to do too much, sticking to your game plan.”

McIlroy was speaking at the Texas Open and on the evidence of his first two rounds, the world No 2 is getting into role early. On his way to a five-under total that has put him into contention, McIlroy has made only one bogey to go with his six birdies and 29 pars.

It is quite the contrast to his last event, The Players Championship three weeks ago, where in his first 36 holes he carded three bogeys, two double-bogeys, 15 birdies and only 16 pars.

Granted, TPC Sawgrass and TPC San Antonio present entirely different challenges, but McIlroy has plainly tried to disembark the rollercoaster and calm the volatility.

“I’ve only made one bogey in the last two days, so that’s much better than what I showed through the Florida swing,” he said. “That’s really been the reason for the work over the last two weeks - to try to eradicate the big misses and try to keep the ball more in front of me instead of off to the side. And make tons of pars.”

This was one of the reasons why he took a 2,000-mile trip to see revered coach Butch Harmon a few days after The Players. He travelled to Las Vegas for the emergency lesson to try to fix his faltering approach play, particularly with his shorter irons. McIlroy, 34, believes Harmon has shown him the way back to the short, narrow and heavily mowed.

“It’s been better, definitely better,” he said. “Look, I’d like to see a few of those iron shots and wedges go closer. But the miss has gone from left to a little to the right, which I’m OK with.

“It means that what I’m working on is heading in the right direction and it’s been tightened up a bit. I’m staying patient and trying to play smart golf. I’m really pleased with just the one bogey.”

American Akshay Bhatia is the runaway pacesetter on 11-under after his own 70.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.