Rory McIlroyGetty

Rory McIlroy has turned to a shark to help him win the Masters – a Great White Shark called Greg Norman.

The 22-year-old Irishman has had a series of heart to heart meetings with Aussie golf legend Norman ahead of this week’s return to Augusta.

Like McIlroy last year, Norman blew a big lead at the Masters and failed to win the green jacket.

He was six shots clear going into the final round in 1996 but shot a 78 and lost to Britain’s Nick Faldo.
The Australian then missed the cut in ’97 and ’98 before finishing tied third in 1999 to match his best Masters result.

Norman has offered McIlroy support and counselling since the Ulsterman’s own final day collapse last year.

And now he is backing the US Open champion to really turn it all around on his return to Augusta this week.

“I don’t care who you name, whether it’s Arnold Palmer or myself or Ballesteros or Tom Watson - we have all experienced a little bit of a meltdown,” said Norman.

“It’s all relative to how you react to it. A lot of people reached out to me when it happened and it’s a very calming feeling.

“I really put Rory as high favourite going into Augusta this year. He is putting beautifully, his short game is great, he has the perfect ball flight for Augusta National and now he has to manage his expectations going in.”

McIlroy has confirmed to Sky Sports that his chats with Norman have helped his mental game.

He said: “Greg was very good. He said to me that I was 21 when it happened to me and he was 41, so he made me realise that it wasn’t going to be my last chance.”