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Rory McIlroy to head into The Masters after four events in five-week spell

Incoming world No 1 set to play Texas Open, the week before The Masters, in hectic run ahead of first major of 2020

Rory McIlroy
Image: Rory McIlroy will play tournament golf in the week before the Masters for the first time since 2014

Rory McIlroy is scheduled to play four tournaments in five weeks leading into The Masters, including the week before the first major of the year in April.

According to his official website, McIlroy has added the Valero Texas Open to his schedule for the first time since 2013, meaning he will have only one week away from competitive golf throughout March.

Image: McIlroy will end Brooks Koepka's tenure as world No 1 next week

McIlroy's only start of 2020 so far has been at the Farmers Insurance Open last month, where he finished three shots behind Marc Leishman in a tie for third, and he is back in action at next week's Genesis Open near Los Angeles.

The 30-year-old, who will return to the top of the world rankings when they are updated on Monday, then faces a hectic spell of tournament golf starting with the WGC Mexico Championship, and he is also confirmed to the Arnold Palmer Invitational - an event he won in 2018.

McIlroy will then defend his Players Championship title at TPC Sawgrass and, following one week off, he will also tee it up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play before heading to the Texas Open in the week prior to The Masters.

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His last visit to TPC San Antonio seven years ago resulted in a runner-up finish behind Scotland's Martin Laird, but McIlroy's hopes of a maiden Masters victory the following week were dashed by a third-round 79 as he recorded a tie for 25th - 11 strokes adrift of champion Adam Scott.

The four-time major champion did not competed in the week before the Masters the following year at the Shell Houston Open, finishing in a share of eighth place before again being unable to mount a serious bid for the Green Jacket a week later, although he went on to win The Open and a second PGA crown in a golden 2014 campaign.

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Rory McIlroy
Image: McIlroy won four titles last year, including the FedExCup

McIlroy has recently insisted he is not putting himself under extra pressure to end his five-and-a-half-year wait for a fifth major triumph, and he went into the new year with renewed confidence of breaking that barren run after collecting four big wins in 2019.

Ahead of his first event of this year at Torrey Pines, McIlroy admitted he paid the price for slow starts in three of the four majors last season, something he is determined to rectify this season.

"When I look back at the majors that I've won and I've done well in, I've always started well," he said. "Three of the four majors last year I had slow starts, but Pebble I started pretty good.

Rory McIlroy
Image: Despiet his success last season, his was his fifth straight year without a major win

"There's a lot of build-up and a lot of hype going into those tournaments, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of trying to shut myself away from all of that stuff, but there's still certain things that get in there.

"Sometimes you go out in the first draw and you're trying to sort of play your way in the golf tournament, make a few pars and play protective golf a little bit, and that's never really been in my nature.

"I'm the other way, right? I start aggressively, and if I do and I play well, I usually keep myself up there in the tournament for the most part. So it was just slow starts for the most part that held me back last year and that's something that I'm going to try to improve on this year."

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