Rory McIlroy has always had the skill to win at Augusta National, but it's his confidence that will ultimately get him over the top as a Masters champion.
McIlroy's 2013 campaign got off to a rough start. After a mediocre showing at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, he withdrew from The Honda Classic in the middle of a horrid second round, much to the chagrin of tour officials.
The Northern Irishman later apologized for his actions, according to Karen Crouse of the New York Times, saying, "I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do. No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there."
It seems as if McIlroy has learned from his mistake, and perhaps his dust up at The Honda Classic spurred him into action.
Since that time, he's played with a sense of purpose, finishing in a tie for eighth place at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and second place in last weekend's tournament, the Valero Texas Open.
On Tuesday, McIlroy spoke about his mental preparation for the Masters during a media session, via Ewan Murray of The Guardian:
I'm here to concentrate on myself and play my game. It really doesn't matter what anyone else does, because I'm here to try and shoot the best score that I can and, if I can do that, I know I'll have a good chance.
He also answered a question regarding his switch to Nike golf clubs. He has yet to win a tournament using his new clubs, but that's not a good excuse as far as McIlroy is concerned, per Murray:
I'm very comfortable and I'm 100% there. It's definitely not the clubs, that's for sure. That's what I've found out over the past few weeks. It's more me.
McIlroy is mentally as ready for this tournament as he has ever been. His confidence has returned, and with it his exceptional skill will shine through.
The longest hitter on tour, McIlroy is also a phenomenal ball-striker, which is a critical aspect if one hopes to win at Augusta.
Now that his head is back on straight after March's frustrations, McIlroy will be one of the men in the hunt for the green jacket on Sunday.
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