Rory McIlroy was exactly where he was on Thursday afternoon. He was standing in the middle of a fairway at the Augusta National Golf Club. His hands covered his face and looked like he’d rather be at the foot of a tributary of Rae’s Creek, which is where his ball resided. Masters can dig into the deepest, darkest crevices of the mind. A CT scan of McIlroy’s head would almost certainly reveal his logo.
A decade ago, a strutting, bouncing, curly-haired boy from Northern Ireland had a four-shot lead on Sunday at the Masters – and then imploded with an ’80s hideout. To say that the 31 year old husband and father who has not recovered is too simplistic because he won his next start at a big championship because he was number 1 in the world last summer because of his Talent is evident and enormous.
But McIlroy now has a story in Augusta and it’s not entirely tasty. It is relevant annually because if he won there he would join the most elitist group in the history of the sport: those who would win all four majors. This is the king of golf: Tiger and Jack and Hogan and Saracens and players.