AUGUSTA, USA: Rory McIlroy cannot begin to contemplate a career where he will be ineligible to have breakfast in the Masters Champions Locker Room at Augusta National.
McIlroy singled out the likes of Greg Norman and Ernie Els, who have both been denied such an opportunity and then witnessed younger players who grew up idolizing them succeed at Augusta.
There is defending champion Adam Scott, who as a youngster had pictures of Norman about his bedroom.
Then there’s Els, and the best golfer to come out of South Africa since Gary Player, graciously, but no doubt painstakingly having to congratulate Masters winning countrymen Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel.
It’s why McIlroy desperately seeks to become the first Irish golfer to be fitted out with a green jacket.
“It has to be tough because you can look at someone like Greg Norman seeing Adam win last year,” said McIlroy.
“Then there’s Ernie [Els] and he sees Trevor [Immelman] winning, he sees Charl [Schwartzel] win, and he sees all these young South Africans playing so well, like Louis [Oosthuizen] going so close in a playoff against Bubba [Watson],” said McIlroy.
“Ernie should have won in 2004 when [Phil] Mickelson birdied two of the last three.
“It’s why I’m determined at 24 that I don’t want to get to that point when I’m 44.
“So that’s why it would be great to win one Masters sooner rather than later.
“It’s why I just cannot contemplate a career without a green jacket as the Masters just stands out from the other majors because we go back to the same venue every year.
“And I’d be disappointed if I ended my career and wasn’t able to go up and have breakfast in the Champions Locker Room”