Ogilvy, of Australia, reacts as he watches his shot from the
ninth fairway during a practice round for the Cadillac
Championship golf tournament in Doral, Fla., Wednesday,
March 4, 2015.
DORAL, Fla. —
Rory McIlroy says he is not thinking about the history that waits
at the Masters, even though that's all he seems to be talking
It's not all his
fault, of course.
Coming off his
first missed cut in eight months at the Honda Classic, McIlroy
leads the strongest field of the year at the Cadillac
Championship. It's the first time since the 2012 PGA Championship,
which he won at Kiawah Island, that everyone in the top 50 of the
world ranking are in the same tournament.
He wants to win
at Doral. He wants to win at Bay Hill in two weeks at the Arnold
But he can't
avoid the questions about the Masters, where the world's No. 1 has
a chance to become only the sixth player to complete the Grand
Slam. Boy Wonder is only 25, and so this won't be his last chance
to pick up the last leg. But having won the British Open and the
PGA Championship last summer, it could take him one big step
closer to joining Tiger Woods as the only player to hold all four
major titles at once.
That's a lot on
the plate. That leads to a lot of questions.
Mickelson hits from the fifth tee during a practice round
for the Cadillac Championship golf tournament in Doral,
Fla., Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
And that's OK
"I think I'd
rather have the questions, because it's obviously a great position
to be in going into Augusta and having it be the only major that I
haven't won," he said Wednesday. "It's not a bad
position to be in. There's always excitement and anticipation and
hype that surrounds Augusta every year, and I feel it regardless
if I'm going in as the favorite or under the radar or
It's the first
major of the year. It the golf course fans know better than any
other. It draws the most interest.
always hype," McIlroy said. "There's always buildup. My
name is getting thrown around a little bit more than it used to,
but I'm OK with that."
McIlroy miss a putt on the 15th green during the second
round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Friday, Feb. 27,
2015 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
It beats the
McIlroy began his
year as a runner-up in Abu Dhabi and a winner in Dubai. He had won
or finished second in eight of his previous 12 tournaments. And
then he missed the cut at the Honda Classic — a tournament he
won in 2012 to reach No. 1 for the first time — with rounds of
It wasn't a great
way to start the road to the Masters. It was no time to panic,
either. McIlroy worked at his home in West Palm Beach when the
rain allowed, tightened up his swing, and then showed the Honda
Classic might have been a mere speed bump when he shot 63 in the
Pro-Member at Seminole.
He teed off
Wednesday before the sun was up and worked his way around the Blue
Monster in relative peace, an odd scene for the best player in
golf. Only two photographers, the occasional TV camera and three
fans with memorabilia in bags for him to sign (he didn't) followed
him around most of the day.
If there was ever
a time to miss a cut, the Honda Classic would be a good one. It
rained so hard that the tournament didn't end until Monday.
McIlroy's biggest problem was controlling his ball in the wind,
and luckily for him, it still was blowing when the rain stopped
for his practice sessions.
practiced and played a little bit, and at least I know going into
this week where my game is," McIlroy said. "So even if
things maybe don't go my way at some point during the round, I'll
know how to manage it a little bit better. Excited to get back at
it and obviously try to put in a better performance than last
champion is Patrick Reed, who declared last year that he felt like
he was among the top five in the world. He's at No. 15, but at
least making progress. Reed was tied for the lead at the Honda
Classic with four holes to play when he went double
bogey-bogey-bogey and shot 73. It was his first time over par in
20 rounds on the PGA Tour this year.
The top 50
doesn't include Woods, who is not eligible for a WGC event for
only the second time in his career. Woods has fallen to No. 75
after missing most of last year with back problems and playing
only 47 holes in two events this year before saying he would take
time off to sort out his game.
and Adam Scott are making their first starts on the PGA Tour, and
Scott plans to use a conventional putter for the first in more
than four years. Stenson will be playing with McIlroy and Masters
champion Bubba Watson, a 1-2-3 pairing from the world ranking.