Player tips McIlroy for Augusta

by Michelle Fortune , 02 April 2012

Gary Player has tipped Rory McIlroy to have a week to remember for the right reasons when he returns to Augusta National for The Masters.

McIlroy returns to Augusta 12 months on from his final round meltdown which saw the Northern Irishman give up a four shot lead to finish ten strokes behind eventual winner Charl Schwartzel.

Many expected the 22-year-old to struggle to overcome his Masters disappointment but just two months later he broke numerous records on his way to the US Open crown at Congressional.

Player believes McIlroy will be looking for revenge at Augusta and he has tipped the world number two to put his 2011 nightmare behind him by claiming the Green Jacket on Sunday.

"I think Rory has a little revenge in his heart for the golf course," said Player.

"You remember last year he was playing so well and was leading and he had that collapse in the final round with an 80.

"The way he recovered from that upset at the US Open a couple of months later showed what maturity he has.

"The disappointment might have seriously affected a less mentally strong young man."

Four-time champion Tiger Woods heads the betting for The Masters following his victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month and despite tipping McIlroy for the top, Player has warned that the former world number one will take a lot of beating.

"He played extremely well when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational the week before last - it's the first time I've seen him drive the ball well in a long time," Player added.

"He's going to be very, very tough at Augusta. He knows the course, he's confident.

"He's had a tough time for two years and he's very hungry - I expect him to do extremely well."

Player will join Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer on Thursday morning to hit the ceremonial opening drives of this year' Masters.

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