McIlroy skips 'hassle' of U.S. Masters Par 3 contest

Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:49am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Grand Slam-chasing Rory McIlroy will not play the traditional Par 3 contest on the eve of next week's U.S. Masters because it is "just too much hassle".

The Northern Irishman described the relaxed nine-hole event as "a bit of a distraction" as he tries to land a fifth major and a first at Augusta to complete the set of all four of golf's main titles.

The 26-year-old last skipped the Par 3 contest in 2011, the year he led the Masters by four shots going into the last day before collapsing to a final-round 80 to finish 15th.

"The year I had my best chance at Augusta, 2011, I didn't play the Par 3 contest so maybe the decision not to play it this year can work in my favor," the world number three said.

The Par 3 event, played over Augusta National's short course around Ike's Pond, often features celebrities or players' children as caddies.

McIlroy had One Direction singer Niall Horan as his guest caddie last year and his then fiancee Caroline Wozniacki did the job in 2014.

McIlroy went to Augusta last year amid a frenzy of hype surrounding his first chance to complete the grand slam and he finished a career-best fourth, six shots behind champion Jordan Spieth.

This year he has opted not to visit Augusta for a scouting mission ahead of the tournament and will arrive on Sunday evening ready for practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Compared to a year ago and all the hype of winning the Grand Slam, I already feel a little more mellow and a lot more chilled," he was quoted as saying on Sky Sports.   Continued...

Mar 27, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays against Jason Day of Australia during round six of the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play at the Austin Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports -