McIlroy finished his week at Augusta National 2-over par (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy left Augusta National heading in the right direction, but was no less disappointed with his finish.
"It's frustration," McIlroy said when asked for his feelings after "That's what this golf course is, it's frustrating.
"I know I've played good enough golf here to win it at times, it's just a matter of stringing it all together in one week."
This was not one of those weeks. McIlroy was consistently inconsistent.
After playing his first two rounds in a combined 2 under and moving to within three of the lead early in the third, things went sideways for McIlroy, who played his final 12 holes Saturday in 8 over en route to a 79.
The former world No. 1 was 10 strokes better on Sunday, and the last two times he left here without a Green Jacket he went on to win a major later that summer -- first at the U.S. Open at Congressional, then at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. But there's still some figuring out to do.
"I'll take any," McIlroy joked when asked which major he would win next. "I'm hitting all the shots. It's just a matter of committing to them all the time."
A lack of confidence in his swing since switching equipment in the offseason has been prevailing problem all season for McIlroy.
He missed the cut in his first start of the year, was eliminated in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in his second and walked off the golf course midway through his round in the third.
McIlroy turned a corner with his swing, he said, with a final-round 65 at Doral, but he's been up and down since, tying for 45th in Houston, finishing second in San Antonio and falling out of contention on the weekend here.
His trips down Magnolia Lane have been just as unpredictable with a tie for 20th in 2009, a missed cut in 2010, a tie for 15th in 2011 following a final-round 80 and a tie for 40th last year.
This week, McIlroy had almost as many bogeys -- 12 -- as birdies -- 13.
"I'm learning each and every year around here," McIlroy said. "You just got to be so controlled and not take on too much. It's one of these golf courses where, when it's like this unfortunately like you can shoot 65 in a heart beat, but all of a sudden you go for a few shots and you're staring double and triple bogey in the face."
It hasn't helped that McIlroy is still working out the kinks in his swing.
"My misses have been wide and that's the thing that I need to sort out," McIlroy said. "A perfect example is the 11th (Saturday). Instead of just missing it in the right rough you miss it 20 yards in the trees and you don't have any shot.
"If I can just sort out those misses so they're not quite as wide and they're still in play, then that's what I need to do."
He could also learn from Fred Couples, Angel Cabrera and even Bernhard Langer -- all players who have won a Green Jacket and continue to play well here, no matter their age.
Of course age (i.e. experience) can go a long way around these parts.
"They know where to miss it; even their bad shots are put in the right positions," McIlroy said. "Because they have played it so many times it's sort of second nature to them, and I'm trying to get there."