Masters: McIlroy in a quiet place

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Rory McIlroy is training this week with Dustin Johnson in Augusta. Image: Getty

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Rory McIlroy is in zen-state of mind despite all the noise around the Masters at Augusta National this week.

McIlroy won the Players Championship a few weeks ago, making it the logical favorite for the Masters, but his near-accident history, including the notorious phasing out of 2011, may discourage some observers. For the man himself it is the whole journey.

"It's not just about a week," he told the media during his media conference on Tuesday. "This is a lifelong journey of trying to improve and learn and master my craft, namely golf. That is what I have chosen as what I want to do with my life, and that is a lifelong pursuit; is not just a week a year. & # 39; & # 39;

The McIlroy media conference was impressive to say the least. It may not necessarily help him when the pressure increases this week, but he remains one of the most interesting people in a game populated by too many machines.

The man from Northern Ireland, for example, is juggling three balls at the same time in his preparation. When he reported on the Augusta National women's event last week, he noticed that some of the players were doing the same. "It is progressing," he said.

For the final round with the players, he meditated for 20 minutes, although he quickly put it into perspective. "I'm not going to live with the monks in Nepal for a few months or something."

In general it is silent focus 10 minutes a day. "It's not like I'm being consumed by it, but it's something that has helped from time to time. Especially in situations where you need your mind to be right. & # 39; & # 39;

His team includes the American professional known for his putting, Brad Faxon, and Clayton Skaggs, medical director at the Central Institute of Human Performance in Jupiter, Florida. He talks about the three P & # 39; s perspective, perseverance, balance. He has read a Steve Jobs biography, but he often exhausts & # 39; The Greatest Salesman in the World & # 39; from Og Mandino.

He also reads & # 39; Digital Minimalism & # 39; from Cal Newport, a book that advocates more sensible use of modern media, and he notes that this week the usual absence of cell phones will be in Augusta, as the club continues to work hard ban cell phones. "There is something to be said for that and I think people can learn from it," said McIlroy.

It all works for him; this is his best start of a season ever. "I think if there is anything, it just focuses on the little things, and doesn't live and die by results and doesn't get caught up in trying to play golf perfectly," he said. "Maybe a little more acceptance and a little different attitude that I think is one of the biggest keys to how I played to start the year."

If he wins, he only becomes the sixth man to win all four major men, by joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Gary Player. He has been a lot shorter than the set since 2014 (along with Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson of the current players) but it is an event that has tortured him earlier, especially in 2011 when he took a four-shot lead in the final round, still led by four on the 10th tee but imploded to shoot 80.

"I keep saying this: I would love to win this tournament one day," he said. "If it doesn't happen this week, that's fine. I'll be back next year and have another crack. But I'm happy where everything is: body, mind, game."

McIlroy plays on Thursdays and Fridays with Cameron Smith and Rickie Fowler from Australia.

Marc Leishman goes with Charley Hoffman and Louis Oosthuizen.

SIGNIFICANT TEE TIMES FRIDAY (Australian Eastern Time)

12.09 am Adam Scott

12.42 Marc Leishman

1.04 Tiger Woods

1.15 Cameron Smith Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler

3.38 Jason Day Dustin Johnson

3.49 Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose

4.00 Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka

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