The 83rd Masters teed off yesterday with in-form Rory McIlroy chasing a victory that would make him just the sixth player to complete golf’s career Grand Slam.
McIlroy has come up short in four prior attempts to win a Masters green jacket to go with his British Open, US Open and PGA Championship trophies.
But the 29-year-old is the odds-makers’ choice after a blistering start to 2019, in which his seven top-10 finishes in seven starts include a victory in the US PGA Tour’s prestigious Players Championship.
It was McIlroy’s 24th professional win, and his first in a year.
While expectations are high, McIlroy insists he’s not putting too much pressure on himself to fill the gap in his major resume.
“I would dearly love to win this tournament one day,” said McIlroy.
“If it doesn’t happen this week, that’s totally fine. I’ll come back next year and have another crack at it.”
McIlroy’s dominant form this season has put his bid for golf history front and centre this week, but a wealth of contenders also includes four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods.
The 43-year-old superstar hasn’t added to his tally of 14 major titles since his 2008 US Open triumph. But he capped his comeback season in 2018 with a victory in the US PGA Tour Championship and contended in two majors last year.
“I’ve proven that I can do it,” said Woods, who was due to tee off at 11:04 in a group with Spain’s Jon Rahm and China’s Li Haotong.