Rory McIlroy eyes heavier schedule ahead of 2024 Masters as he seeks elusive green jacket, ending major skid

McIlroy begins his 2024 season this week at the Dubai Invitational on the DP World Tour

Rory McIlroy may not have played in the PGA Tour’s first event of the 2024 calendar season, but he does plan to play more before the year’s first major championship. With Augusta National already on his mind, the four-time major champion will hope a ramped up schedule leading up to the 2024 Masters will be the missing link between him and a green jacket.

“The Masters is the Disneyland of golf,” McIlroy told Golf Digest. “You go there, put the Mickey Mouse ears on and get into what it is. And when you leave you snap out of it. My big thing about Augusta is just to go in there playing well. The weeks before are important just to get me feeling like I’m in good form. This year, in fact, I’m going to play more before the Masters. It will be my ninth or 10th event of the year. Previously, it’s been my sixth or seventh. I’ll hopefully be a bit sharper and know exactly where my game really is.”

McIlroy will begin his season this week at the Dubai Invitational on the DP World Tour before defending his title next week at the Dubai Desert Classic. A quick trip to Dubai has been customary for the Northern Irishman in recent years; he typically gets his campaign in the United States underway during the California swing. Given the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has received signature status on the PGA Tour, the Monterey coast is where McIlroy will make initial landfall in 2024.

Where exactly the extra starts will come are not yet known, but it would not be surprising if McIlroy returns to the Lone Star State. If sharpness is what he hopes to achieve, the 34-year-old may add either the Houston Open or Texas Open to his schedule in the two weeks preceding the Masters. McIlroy teed it up in the 2022 Texas Open, ultimately missing the cut before finishing runner-up to Scottie Scheffler at the Masters.

What we do know is McIlroy will try anything and everything under the sun to complete the career grand slam and end his major drought which dates back to the 2014 PGA Championship. Just last year, McIlroy made an early scouting trip to Augusta National and had played 80 practice holes by the time the first tee shot was sent in the air. He went on to miss the cut for the second time in his last three Masters.

“I’ve just about said all I have to say about the Masters,” McIlroy continued. “I’d love to win it. If I don’t, I probably will look back and think I missed out on something. I did an interview a few years ago when the interviewer asked if I felt like I deserved a green jacket. I don’t deserve anything. The game has given me more than enough. I have to go out there and earn it. People can say the course suits my game all they want, I still have to go out there and play the golf. I’m on a pretty strong list of players who have won three of the four majors. But I’d like to be on the shorter list of those who have won all four.”

McIlroy’s quest to solve the puzzle that is Augusta National will continue in 2024. If he is able to place the final piece come April and don the green jacket, the world No. 3 would join Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only men to win all four major championships in golf.

SOURCE: cbssports.com