Rory McIlroy arrived on golf’s largest stage yesterday and proclaimed his fitness for the task ahead - winning his first Masters.
In contrast, his fellow Ulsterman Darren Clarke withdrew from the tournament after pulling a hamstring during a tennis game. It was a huge blow for the former British Open winner.
McIlroy was oozing confidence, “I feel like my game’s in really good shape,” said McIlroy. “It doesn’t take long, just turn around and you’re off . . . at least that’s the case for me.
“I guess I was more hopeful than expecting going into the last couple of tournaments [in Houston and San Antonio] but I think I know now where my game is at and I’m happy with it.
“I’m really looking forward to [the Masters]. The plan was to get myself tournament ready, tournament sharp.
“It was a bonus that I got into contention and had a chance to win.”
Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell complete the Irish challengers along with amateur Alan Dunbar who qualified by winning the British Amateur title.