Rory McIlroy reflects on another missed chance to win The Masters and become the sixth player to win the grand slam: "I just haven't played it (Augusta) well enough at the right time."
Rory McIlroy was full of high hopes and expectations as he teed off on Sunday with an oppportunity to make history - but was left instead to rue missed chances after a disappointing final round.
He has just posted his fifth consecutive top 10 at The Masters, but what slipped away was the best chance he's had in seven years to convert that in to the career grand slam. It's the final piece of McIlroy's major puzzle, but once again it evaded his grasp as he failed to reproduce the magic of the first three rounds.
"Probably some of my best golf I've played here," McIlroy said after his round as he reflected on his week as a whole. "Just wasn't meant to be."
McIlroy put himself into contention with a 65 on Saturday that saw him just three shots behind Patrick Reed heading in to the final round, and by the second hole on Sunday he had a chance to tie the lead.
His eagle putt slipped by the hole, and it started a trend with his putter that continued throughout the day as he stumbled to a two over par 74 with five bogeys and four birdies that put him six shots behind Reed in a tie for 5th place.
There were definite chances, but the chip ins and holed putts that he seemed unable to miss on Saturday became a reality during the fourth round as he let several short putts slip by the hole. Yet despite the frustrations, McIlroy was keen to take the positives.
And one of those is his certainty he will put on a green jacket at Augusta National someday.
"Look, it is, of course it's frustrating. But it's hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in the position. That's all I wanted to do. The last four years I've had top‑10s, but I haven't been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there. I didn't quite do enough. But, you know, come back again next year and try."
"Oh, yeah, 100 percent (I can win here). I've played in two final groups in the last seven years, I've had five top‑10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven't played it well enough at the right time."
"I'll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have potentially done better. More whether it be mindset or ‑‑ I don't know, I just ‑‑ I just didn't quite have it today. I played some great golf yesterday. I just didn't continue that golf into today.
"I was trying to hit good shots and good putts and anytime I felt like I hit a decent shot, I either left myself on the wrong side of the pin or gave myself a tricky one behind the hill. And then when I did get some opportunities I didn't take advantage of them. Yeah, tough day, but I'll be back. And hopefully I'll be better.
"I had a bit of a shaky drive off the first, but it was a really good up and down for par. And I hit some good shots out there. It wasn't as if I just didn't ‑‑ again, there's a lot of ‑‑ I feel like momentum is a huge thing, especially in final rounds. You look at what Jordan and Rickie did. They got on a roll and I didn't. Patrick and I didn't at all. We were both around even par, and just sort of grinding out there. And it wasn't quite what we both had in mind. He just hung in there a little bit better than I did and got the job done.