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Mcilroy Employing ‘Mind Games’ to Earn Elusive Green Jacket

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Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rory McIlroy

  • Rory McIlroy is the 8-1 favorite in Las Vegas to win the 2019 Masters.
  • McIlroy says he's working hard on the mental side of his game to earn his first green jacket and complete the career grand slam.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — On numerous occasions during the first three months of this year, Rory McIlroy has suggested he’s employed a different attitude toward both his life and his golf — and in regard to the latter, specifically toward the Masters as he attempts to claim the career grand slam.

On Tuesday, discussions of this renewed perspective dominated his pre-tournament news conference, as he explained that he’s been spending as much time on the mental and psychological side of his game as the physical and technical.

“The big thing is: I am not my score, I am not my results,” he explained. “That’s been one of my big things. It’s perspective, it’s perception … I think I’ve had a healthy dose of perspective this year, and that’s helped, either with great results like The Players [which he won], or undesirable results of not being able to finish a tournament off. Being able to put both of those things in perspective have been a good thing.”

McIlroy’s performance will undoubtedly be among the most scrutinized storylines of the upcoming week.

For the fifth straight year, he’ll have the opportunity to add a green jacket to hardware from the other three majors, trying to join the game’s most exclusive club as the sixth player to win each of them.

This time, though, he’s garnering even more attention.

McIlroy has easily been the world’s most torrid golfer over the year’s first three months, failing to finish outside the top six in his six stroke-play appearances. All of which has led to him being thrust into the position of oddsmakers’ favorite — a precarious situation for a player who competed in the final pairing last year, but later admitted he’d played “not to lose” instead of to win.

Now, he insists he’s not focused on the outcome.

“You still want to win,” he explained. “But there’s ways to do it and there’s mechanisms that you can put in place that help you achieve your goals, that aren’t just about the result.  It’s about the process of getting to that point. So, it’s not as if I’m coming here not to try and win the golf tournament, but I know if I have the right attitude and I have my goals that I want to achieve this year, the byproduct could be winning this golf tournament.”

McIlroy revealed that he’s been practicing meditation and even juggling to help clear his mind.

He maintains that this perspective has assisted in better preparing him to compete, especially in this tournament.

“I’m still practicing, I’m still getting better,” he said. “I’m not getting ahead of myself. Not thinking about the tee shot on Thursday or thinking about what is to come this week — and that’s something I probably will never stop trying to learn or to practice. But I’m in a good place with it.”

“I would dearly love to win this tournament one day. If it doesn’t happen this week, that’s totally fine, I’ll come back next year and have another crack at it. But I’m happy with where everything is — body, mind, game.”

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