This is the time for the young Irishman to separate himself from the pack and prove he is truly the next big thing in the sport.
If Rory can pull out a win at Augusta National this weekend, he will quell the Tiger comeback talk and put the spotlight back on himself.
McIlroy infamously blew a four-stroke lead during the final round in epic fashion during the 2011 version of this tournament and should be looking to redeem himself.
Greg Norman, who coughed up a six-stroke lead back in 1996, reportedly called Rory to offer him words of encouragement and advice.
“It was great coming from him, because I’m sure he knew how I felt,” McIlroy said. “He said a couple things to me that I found very useful and put into practice, especially weeks like this where there’s so much hype and there’s so much buildup. I’ve said this before, but create this little bubble around yourself and just try and get into that and don’t let any of the outside interference come into that.”
McIlroy was clearly able to recover and move on from the implosion as evidenced by his solid victory at the U.S. Open approximately two months later.
Hopefully, Rory continues to follow Norman’s advice, whatever it may have been, if it was able to help him maintain his focus and lead in that tournament. He’ll definitely need composure to win the 2012 Masters.