With ‘the noise’ muted, Rory McIlroy can enjoy rub of the green

Given he has still yet to don the green jacket that seemed as tailor-made for him as the Augusta course itself, the eve of another US Masters invariably prompts the memory of Rory McIlroy’s implosion there eight years ago.

But when you study how he has reflected on what his mindset was like back then and where he has it now, it’s worth bearing in mind that he was not the only prodigious superstar who choked — for there is no escaping the word, just as there shouldn’t necessarily be any shame in it either — on a huge sporting stage in the Deep South in 2011.

That same year, LeBron James, the self-anointed Chosen One, just as McIlroy was identified as god’s gift to golf while still in his teens, was humiliated in the NBA finals. After taking an early 2-1 series lead against the unfancied Dallas Mavericks, his Miami Heat self-destructed, losing three games in succession, and with it, the chance for James to win his first title.

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