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The Masters: Rory McIlroy explains game plan to land elusive Grand Slam at Augusta National

McIlroy looking to become the sixth player to complete golf's career Grand Slam; Watch The Masters throughout the week live from Augusta National exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf with Featured Group coverage from 2pm on Thursday

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Rory McIlroy says that playing a negative, less aggressive game on Sunday is a smart game plan as he believes it is important to stay disciplined in the first 54 holes

Rory McIlroy believes going against his traditional strategy and showcasing a ‘negative game plan’ could help him secure the elusive career Grand Slam at The Masters.

McIlroy has registered six career top-10 finishes at Augusta National, including three in the last five years, although the Northern Irishman is still searching for an elusive victory that would see him become just the sixth player in history to have won all four major titles.

The 32-year-old's quest to complete a career Grand Slam continues for an eighth consecutive year this week, having last won a major in 2014, with McIlroy more relaxed about any Masters pressure.

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Rory Mcilroy has said that Tiger Woods' return to The Masters has made preparation for others easier as there is less attention on them and also touched on his chase for The Grand Slam over the years

"I'm maybe at a different stage of my life where back then, golf was everything," McIlroy said.

"It's still very, very important, but maybe back then I would think that - I don't know if I would feel like I was fulfilled if I didn't win one or whatever it is, but it's less pressure.

"I know if I play well, I'll give myself chances to win this golf tournament. It's just a matter of going out there and executing the way you know that you can and stick to your game plan and be patient and be disciplined and all the things you need to do around Augusta National.

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"It feels like playing very negatively, playing away from trouble, not firing at flagsticks, not being aggressive. It feels like a negative game plan, but it's not. It's just a smart game plan. It's playing the percentages.

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"Look, Sunday, if you need to take risks, you take risks obviously, but for the first 54 holes, you just have to stay as disciplined as possible. To me, yeah, that goes against my nature a little bit, so it is something I have to really work hard on."

Tiger Woods is greeted by Rory McIlroy during a practice round for The Masters
Image: McIlroy spent time with Tiger Woods around the practice area on Tuesday

McIlroy registered his 20th PGA Tour title at The CJ Cup in October although he has experienced an inconsistent start to his 2022 campaign, finishing tied-33rd at The Players last month and coming into this event off the back of a missed cut at the Valero Texas Open.

"I think it [game] feels better than the results have maybe suggested the last few weeks," McIlroy said.

"Like the big key here, you look at all the previous winners, especially over the last five to ten years, their iron play and their approach play has separated them from the field. That's a really important part of your play this week.

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"It beats you into going for flags that you shouldn't go for. It's about being very disciplined with your approach play, knowing that, if you hit a wedge to 20 or 30 feet, that's okay. Middle of the greens, you hole a few putts, that's what it's about, playing to the fat part of the green, being somewhat conservative.

"I think that's what wins you Masters. You see the highlights of people hitting heroic golf shots around here, but that's just one golf shot. The rest of the time, they're doing the right things and being patient and being disciplined, and that's what wins you Green Jackets."

Watch The Masters exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage throughout tournament week is on Sky Sports Golf, with additional feeds and bonus action during all four rounds available via the red button.

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