Rory McIlroy says he cried after blowing the 2011 Masters
The best player in the world under age 25 spoke openly about how much he's changed since trying to win this tournament in 2011.
Rory McIlroy might be the best interview in golf not named "Phil Mickelson during Masters week."
The young Ulsterman's charisma was again on display on Tuesday at Augusta National when he talked candidly about the 80 he shot over the final round in 2011 when he went to the second nine clear of the field.
"That's probably the only time I've cried over golf," said McIlroy, referencing the Monday morning after that ghastly day.
"Last year was nothing compared to [that]. Especially blowing a lead in the final round of the Masters, because you never know if you're going to get that opportunity again.
"It makes it easier these days when you have two majors in the bag. Not that you don't care as much, but it's not the end of the world. You know that you will have more opportunities, and you've taken a couple of opportunities already."
McIlroy strolls into the tournament off a final-round 65 at the Houston Open and with three top 10s (in five events) under his belt on the PGA Tour this season.
Still, he has zero top 10s at this place.
But he said he's a long way from that final day in 2011.
"I have no ill feelings toward 2011," McIlroy said. "I thought it was very important day in my career. It was a big learning curve for me. And I don't know if I had not have had that day, would I be the person and the player that I am sitting here, because I learned so much from it.
"I learned exactly not what to do under pressure and contention, and I definitely learned from that day how to handle my emotions better on the course."
It speaks volumes that he's known as one of the most even-keeled dudes in the game. His interview after the Honda Classic earlier this season -- another tournament he should have won -- was evidence of that.
"Even if I had won, it would have felt a little bit undeserved," said McIlroy.
If he wins this Sunday it will be every bit deserved.
That's for sure.
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