I'm not due anything: McIlroy knows he must earn Masters glory
Rory McIlroy is determined to complete a career Grand Slam at the Masters, but does not believe he is more deserving of winning the year's first major than anyone else.
Having ended a lengthy win drought with a stunning victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago, McIlroy will be high on confidence when he tees it up at Augusta National next Thursday.
Seven years have passed since McIlroy famously held a four-shot lead ahead of the final round of the Masters, only to shoot 80 on Sunday and finish in a tie for 15th.
However, in an interview with the Guardian, the 28-year-old said: "No one is owed anything, due anything. It's not my turn. I don't believe in that stuff.
"My dad always used to say to me: 'If it's for you, it won't go past you', and I hate that line because that's not how it works. You have to go and do it yourself.
"It doesn't just magically fall into your lap. I'm not due anything, I don't deserve anything, everyone starts on an even playing field on Thursday morning. Whoever plays the best will win."
Reflecting on his recent visits to Augusta, McIlroy added: "I've had four top-10s but never really contended. I'd rather have been back in the box seat and seen what happened because to get in contention you have to be playing well. You can't fake it there.
"The closest was when I played in the last group on the third day with Jordan [Spieth] in 2016 [and finished tied-10th], that didn't go as planned.
"I'd love again to put myself in a position like that after two days because I feel like I learned a lot that day, I took on shots that I shouldn't have. Even just to get myself into that position, I feel like I'd handle that a lot better. Any time you don't do something right is a learning opportunity and more than anywhere else in the world that we play, I feel like I have learned a lot of lessons at Augusta."
McIlroy insists he is not weighed down by a fear of never winning the Masters, highlighting the fact Phil Mickelson won the tournament at the 12th attempt following a series of near-misses.
"I'll get a lot of opportunities at this; we have been watching the Winter Olympics where people have waited four, eight years. I at least get to do it once a year," he added.
"It took Phil Mickelson how many tries until he got over the line in 2004? Now he has three green jackets. The more you play it, the more you get comfortable, not just on the course but as soon as you get inside the gates.
"People would think it's on my mind all the time. Listen, I'd love the green jacket in the closet, to go back every year and use the champions' locker room, to host dinner as the champion. Nobody could ever take that away from you.
"But I think about the Masters the week before I play it, because that's when I prepare for it."