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    • Q&A: McIlroy on the majors

      Entering the season's final major, Rory McIlroy takes on five major-related questions

    • Rory McIlroy has won the 2011 U.S. Open (left), 2012 PGA (center) and 2014 Open Championship (right).Rory McIlroy has won the 2011 U.S. Open (left), 2012 PGA (center) and 2014 Open Championship (right).

    Fresh off victories in his last two starts against the world's top golfers, Rory McIlroy enters the season's final major, the PGA Championship, as the big favorite. Thanks to his wins at The Open Championship and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, McIlroy has once again risen to No. 1 in the world.

    While his quest for the career Grand Slam will not begin until the second week of April at the Masters, the 25-year-old McIlroy is clearly on a path few others have traveled at his age. He recently gave PGATOUR.COM an exclusive interview in which he answered five major-related questions, including an early look at his thoughts about Augusta. Check out the Q&A and then join the discussion below on Rory and the majors.

    PGATOUR.COM: How often will you think about the career Grand Slam in the next nine months leading up to the Masters?

    RORY McILROY: "Of course I will think about it. I’m not counting down the days to the Masters as I have another major (this week). The preparation will be the same for the PGA Championship as it will be for next April, and as it was for my Open Championship win. I stick with a process of coaching, practice and fitness training and will go out and give it my all."

    PGATOUR.COM: When you were about to start your career, did you think The Open Championship would be the easiest or the most difficult of the four majors to win and why?

    McILROY: "I really hoped some day that I would win them all. I’m not sure if I ever thought one major would be more difficult to win than another. Because I grew up playing a lot of links golf, though, I probably allowed myself to think that The Open was the one I’d most likely see myself winning -- I did win the silver medal as low amateur at Carnoustie in 2007."

    PGATOUR.COM: Some have suggested the Masters could be the easiest of the four majors for you to win, since Augusta National would seem to suit your game. Do you agree or disagree and are you surprised in some way that you haven't won a Green Jacket?

    McILROY: "Augusta is perhaps the course most suited to my game -- it’s the surface I now play most of my golf on. But a completely rounded golfer needs to play on all surfaces and we play in so many different environments and countries these days that we have to be able to adapt our games.

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    "I can’t say I’m surprised that I haven’t won a Green Jacket. When I came close in 2011, I gave away too many shots on the back nine and let other golfers overtake me. That’s just what happened. But I’ve overtaken players at times, too. It happens to all of us over a career."

    PGATOUR.COM: Given that you'll have 20-plus chances to win the Masters, would you be shocked if you don't complete the career Grand Slam?

    McILROY: "I’d be very disappointed if I didn’t -- and hopefully it won’t take me another 20 years. But it’s not about just showing up and eventually it’ll happen. A Green Jacket is very hard to come by, especially now that the quality of every field is so good. And with all the hard work and preparation comes a confidence and belief in my ability."

    PGATOUR.COM: You learned a lot about yourself in losing at Augusta in 2011. What did you learn in your win at The Open?

    McILROY: "Yes, I learned a lot after Augusta in 2011. I even think I might have even needed the experience of Augusta in 2011 as something I could look back on and learn from for my future career. What went wrong? Why did it go wrong? Maybe I couldn’t ever have those answers without the actual experience. I believe some of those answers helped me win the U.S. Open at Congressional a couple of months later.

    "Looking back at the Open win, I think I can say I had the tools to cope with the chasing pack that I didn’t have in 2011. I managed the final day much better. I was able to resist the urge to always reach for the driver. I took trouble out of the equation when I could. And I stuck to a plan -- I basically went out onto the course with a strategy and followed it."

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