In Brief

Rory McIlroy: I don’t care about The Open, the Masters is biggest

Northern Ireland golfer says the Augusta major has the most hype and eyeballs

Rory McIlroy has raised a few eyebrows in the golfing world after declaring that the Masters is now the biggest tournament - even more than The Open Championship.

The Northern Ireland golfer, a four-time major winner, was speaking at a press conference before the Wells Fargo Championship which starts today in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s McIlroy’s first tournament since finishing in a tie for fifth at last month’s Masters.

Quoted by Sports Illustrated, McIlroy said: “The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world, and I’m comfortable saying that.

“I don’t care about the US Open or the Open Championship, it is the biggest golf tournament in the world, the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype, everything is at Augusta.

“For me it’s the most special tournament that we play, and it’s the one everyone desperately wants to win, but even if I was going for my first major, it’s still tough to win.”

The 28-year-old is still looking for a victory at Augusta to complete a career Grand Slam of golfing majors. However, despite losing the chance to win a first green jacket in April, McIlroy believes he will one day succeed at the Masters.

He told CNN’s Shane O’Donoghue: “It’ll happen. I truly believe it’ll happen. I play that golf course well enough, I’ve five top 10s [finishes] in a row. I’ve given myself the chance, it didn’t quite work out [this year] but the more I keep putting myself in those positions, sooner or later it is going to happen for me.”

After missing out on the elusive win at the 2018 Masters McIlroy admitted that he found the experience hard to process. “Probably took me a week to get over it,” he said. “I went back home and decompressed, binge-watched a couple of shows, read a couple of books, drank a few bottles of wine.

“I was trying to immerse myself in anything but golf at that moment. It got to point where [my wife] Erica had to drag me out of the house and say: ‘We are going to do something’.”

McIlroy tees off in the Wells Fargo Championship first round at 12.30pm today (UK time). Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Masters champion Patrick Reed are also playing in the $7.7m (£5.6m) PGA tournament at Quail Hollow Golf Course.

The next golf major is the US Open at Shinnecock Hills GC from 14-17 June with The Open Championship taking place from 19-22 July at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. 

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