McIlroy vows not to give Augusta too much respect
Rory McIlroy does not think he could be in better form heading into the Masters and vowed not to give the Augusta course too much respect in his quest to complete a career Grand Slam.
The four-time major champion claimed his first tournament victory since September 2016 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month courtesy of a magnificent closing 64.
McIlroy is among the favourites to don the green jacket for the first time and pull off a clean sweep of majors this week.
The Northern Irishman is confident he can be in the mix for the title, revealing he feels more at ease playing at one of the world's most famous courses than he has done in years gone by.
"I feel like I'm coming in here in great form and excited to have another chance to try and win this great tournament," the world number seven said.
"I feel like I couldn't come in here with better form. It was great to get a win a couple of weeks ago, and hopefully I can just carry that golf forward for the next few days."
McIlroy says he has learned lessons from being too cautious at the start of the first major of the year.
He added: "I do believe I'm more comfortable [playing at Augusta], and I think there's a few reasons for that. My game is in good shape and I'm confident in it. So that's one thing.
"I think sometimes I feel like I've given this golf course a little too much respect, and that goes back to what I have said about being a slow starter. Sometimes you plod away and you make your pars and think you're doing okay, but you look at the board and you might be seven or eight back, someone's got off to a hot start.
"Last year I shot 72 in that real windy first day, and Charley Hoffman had shot 65. I thought I played pretty well, but all of a sudden you're seven back with three rounds to go. So you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself to start off fast, but you want to be there or thereabouts after the first couple of days.
"So I have got in my way here before, but I think because I'm a little more comfortable on the golf course and comfortable in my game, I don't think that will happen this week."
McIlroy will tee off at 13:38 local time (17:38 GMT) on Thursday along with Adam Scott and Jon Rahm.