One at a time for McIlroy, in line for career grand slam

Tue Apr 7, 2015 4:41pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy is targeting the Augusta National par-fives at the Masters this week as a key to joining golf's elite club of career grand slam champions.

McIlroy, 25, would not predict his chances of reaching Jack Nicklaus's record 18 majors, or of matching boyhood idol Tiger Woods's mark of 14, but knows what he needs to do to wear the green jacket.

"If you look at the previous winners here, they've all played the par-fives well," four-times major winner McIlroy said on Tuesday.

The Northern Irishman compared his par-five results with 2014 champion Bubba Watson.

"Bubba last year played them at eight under par. I played them at even par and he beat me by eight shots," noted McIlroy, who is 21-under on par-fives in 22 Masters rounds.

McIlroy said his booming drives actually worked against him.

"Sometimes on par-fives, with my length, I can be a little over-aggressive," said McIlroy, who hit nine-irons into the 13th and 15th in last year's final round and posted bogey-sixes in failed attempts to get an eagle.

Winning would complete his set of majors following wins in the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship -- a feat accomplished only by Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits off the 12th tee during his practice round ahead of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia April 7, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young