Rory McIlroy stunned to hear Masters fact: "That's sort of embarrassing"

Rory McIlroy conceded it was 'embarrassing' his opening round of the 2024 Masters was his best since the 2018 edition of the major.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy admitted it was 'embarrassing' after finding out he posted his best ever opening round at the Masters since 2018.

The Northern Irishman began his latest attempt at completing the career grand slam on Thursday alongside Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele. 

Scheffler, as you'd expect, raced into immediate contention with a flawless six under 66 whereas Schauffele settled for level par. 

But McIlroy was made to work for his one under 71 at Augusta National, which contained three bogeys and four birdies. 

Remarkably, it was McIlroy's best ever opening round since the 2018 Masters where returned a scorecard of 69.

"I held it together well," the 34-year-old told reporters. 

"It was a little scrappy. The conditions are tricky [and it was] hard to fully commit to shots out there at times."

A reporter put it to him: "It sounds like you think it could have been better, but your best opening round here [since 2018 is] encouraging?"

Taken aback, McIlroy said: "Is it? That's sort of embarrassing if it is, but that's a good thing.

"Yeah, I guess. I kept it together. I stuck to my game plan. Didn't birdie two of the par-5s on the back, which was a little disappointing.

"But getting in in red numbers was decent."


McIlroy opened with a 1-under 71
McIlroy opened with a 1-under 71

McIlroy said he was proud that he stuck to his gameplan of not trying to force the issue. 

At the turn of the year the Ulsterman admitted he was guilty of leaderboard watching too much last year. 

It was clear that McIlroy panicked after he saw Brooks Koepka raced into the early lead and the four-time major champion missed the cut. 

"Everyone is going to make bogeys this week, and it's just a matter of when you do, resetting and sticking to your game plan," he said. 

If McIlroy is to be victorious this week then it appears extremely likely he'll need to defeat the aforementioned Scheffler. 

McIlroy spoke fondly of Scheffler after 18 holes, describing the amount of bogey-free rounds he produces as 'phenomenal'. 

"Scottie does such a good job," he said. "It doesn't look like it's 6-under par, and then at the end of the day it's 6-under par. 

"He's just so efficient with everything.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

"If you look at Scottie compared to the rest of the field, the amount of bogey-free rounds he plays and he shoots is phenomenal, and that's the secret to winning major championships and winning big-time golf tournaments is more limiting the mistakes rather than making a ton of birdies.

"I made three bogeys today, which is fine out there in these conditions, but just need to tidy it up a little bit to try to keep up with him."

McIlroy was watched by LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman on Thursday. 

He said that he was not aware of Norman's presence. "Didn't see him," he said. 

After sealing victory for Team Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup, McIlroy spoke of being inspired by emperor Marcus Aurelius.

He's not reading anything this week, he said, but he recently listened to "Outwitting the Devil" by Napoleon Hill. 

A reporter asked McIlroy: "How do you outwit the devil?"

His response? "Positivity."

McIlroy will need that and more over the next three days. 

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