Can McIlroy Finally Break Masters Jinx?

Rory McIlroy's fourth round at the 2011 Masters remains one of the most memorable in golfing history, for all the wrong reasons.

The Collapse

After shooting 65 on day one to become the youngest first-round leader in the history of the tournament, and following it up with a 69 on the Saturday and a 70 on the Saturday, the Northern Irishman held a four-shot lead going into the final day. At 12-under par, it seemed that one more solid round of golf would clinch him the crown.

Unfortunately, the youngster bogeyed the first hole on day four, setting a precedent for the rest of the round. After shooting a triple-bogey at the 10th, he three-putted from less than 10 feet at the 11th, then four-putted for double-bogey at the 12th. As if things couldn't get any worse, he pulled his drive at the 13th and ended up in Rae's Creek.

The Redemption

McIlroy limped home with a final round score of 80 to finish T15 on four-under par. Many wondered how the experience would affect him going forward. He responded in incredible fashion, winning the U.S. Open less than two months later -- the first of his four major titles.

Despite his redemption, the Masters remains the only tournament McIlroy has yet to win. However, he has finished in the top 10 in the last five editions of the event. But can he go one better in 2019 and finally get that monkey off his back? Bookmakers MoPlay currently have him joint-favorite alongside Jordan Spieth, but it may be best to monitor the in-play betting to see if he suffers another fluctuation in form.

Unfinished Business

The good news is, McIlroy has been in great form over the last few months. Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, he has bagged six top-10 finishes including the three top-five finishes at the start of 2019 and enjoyed a blistering start to the WGC event in Mexico City. Before heading to the Masters, he will defend his Arnold Palmer Invitational title. That win remains his only tour title in two and a half years, leaving him hovering around at around eighth-place in the world rankings.

If McIlroy can secure a win before he heads to Augusta, many will back him to carry that momentum forward and land the big one. However, he will have to fend off the likes of three-time major champion and current World No. 2 Brooks Koepka, World No. 1 Justin Rose, and other top-10 players, including Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.

Remarkably, none of the current top 10 have ever won a Masters Championship. Outside of the top 10, Tiger Woods is the highest-ranked former Masters champions at 13th followed by last year's winner Patrick Reed who is ranked 15th in the world. Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth will be many people's favorite to lift the crown, but the 25-year-old has suffered a slump in form which has seen him plummet to 24th in the rankings.

In summary, with the way the field is set up and considering McIlroy's current form, this could be the Northern Irishman's best chance yet to claim golf's most coveted prize.

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