McIlroy pulls out of Masters par-three contest


Rory McIlroy will not take part in the annual par-three contest at Augusta National next week as he focuses on completing a career grand slam with victory at the Masters.

The world number three is looking to win the only major that has eluded him so far in his career, his previous best coming 12 months ago when he finished fourth.

McIlroy has enjoyed an encouraging start to the year with four top-10 finishes in the seven tournaments he has played in, including a fourth-placed finish at last weekend's WGC-Dell Match Play.

And to maintain his form McIlroy has opted not to feature in the traditional event prior to the start of the Masters on April 7.

"I'm not going to play the par-three contest this year as it's just too much hassle and it's a bit of a distraction," he said.

"The year I had my best chance at Augusta ... was in 2011 as I didn't play the par-three contest so maybe the decision not to play it this year can work in my favour.

"I will get into Augusta on Sunday night and play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning."

He added: "I've arranged with Matt Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan to play a practice round with them one day, so that will be nice to sort of show them the Augusta ropes. But then they're also very talented and I'm sure they'll learn fast.

"As for my game, I do feel as though I am similar to where I was with my game last year as I am very happy with my game as everything feels pretty good.

"And I guess you can see it as a sign of my confidence that I am not going to Augusta early as the course changes so much just from Wednesday to Thursday.

"So compared to a year ago and all the hype of winning the Grand Slam, I already feel a little more mellow and a lot more chilled."