Rory McIlroy's chances at the Masters assessed by Paul McGinley
Last Updated: 04/04/17 3:38pm
Former European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley is hoping Rory McIlroy will be in the correct frame of mind when he steps on the first tee at next week's Masters.
McGinley says his fellow Irishman has the game, as well as the physical attributes, to win at Augusta National, but needs to be mentally at his best to claim the opening major championship of the season.
Looking ahead to Georgia, McGinley said: "I think his game will be there, it's more the other stuff around it such as the focus, the concentration you need and the competitive juices.
"He's missed a chunk of the season but he can make it up. He's not a guy who needs a huge amount of hours on the clock and rounds under his belt to feel that he can compete. He's an intuitive player. He's an inspirational player.
"It's about creating that mindset he had when he came from behind to take down Dustin Johnson and win the FedEx last September.
"He was 100 per cent mentally engaged to win that tournament. He was inspired. That will dictate how well he does at Augusta.
"That creativeness that has allowed him to play at such a high level, also sees him switch off now and again and lose focus.
"That will always be his challenge. It's one of the things that makes him so enthralling.
"He goes through barren patches, then from nowhere comes through and has everyone gripped by the standard of his play. That see-saw performance is the thing that is such a big part of his appeal."
Due to injury, the 28-year-old has had just 12 competitive stroke play rounds during the past four months.
And if McIlroy was to win next week, it would complete the career grand slam, having already won the US Open, The Open and PGA Championship.
Only five golfers in the history of the game have won all four majors - Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods - and McIlroy has made no secret of the fact he wants to finish the job.
McGinley, who will be commentating for Sky Sports at Augusta, added: "It's a very important Masters for Rory, arguably now the most important major for him because he wants to complete the grand slam and join those five people.
"It would be an incredible achievement, not just for Rory but for European golf as well, because none of the previous five were European.
"Nobody from Europe has ever done it, so it's a chance for history, a chance for a landmark, a chance for someone from the modern era, and it would certainly set down a marker regarding all the other contemporaries if he achieves a grand slam still in his 20s.
"It's a big mental challenge and if Rory wants to join these greats he has got to deal with it. That's why you become one of the greats of the game. That's the challenge in front of him."