Masters 2017: Player backs McIlroy to avenge Augusta meltdown

Rory McIlroy has "the monkey off his back" from 2011 and is ready to win the Masters, says Gary Player.

Gary Player has tipped Rory McIlroy to avenge his Masters collapse of 2011 with triumph at Augusta this week.

McIlroy appeared poised for a wire-to-wire win six years ago, only for a final-round 80 to end his hopes of victory.

The Northern Irishman has since won the U.S. Open, the Open and emerged victorious twice at the US PGA Championship, leaving McIlroy just a green jacket short of becoming the sixth man to complete the Grand Slam.

And Player, a three-time winner at Augusta, believes McIlroy is primed for Masters glory. 

"I fancy Rory McIlroy to win, I think the timing is right for him, he's playing nicely at the moment, I think he's in a good frame of mind," the 81-year-old told Omnisport.

"He made a mess of the tournament a few years ago, he's got that monkey off his back so to speak, the golf course is suited for him, he's been doing a lot of weight training, he's very strong and fit.

"I hope he wins because that'll be the sixth man to win the Grand Slam and I think it'll do golf a lot of good.

"I think Jordan Spieth is also going to play well this year, but I still fancy Rory to win. Jordan Spieth is the best putter in the world, but he cannot hit the ball as well as Rory.

"I think Rory McIlroy has the biggest potential in world golf today."

McIlroy is all too familiar with how momentum can change at Augusta and Player believes nobody can go into the final day over-confident regardless of their advantage.

"It's a golf course you can play very well on and you can shoot 75 and you can have just a nice day and you can shoot 70, it's a very exacting golf course," Player added. 

"You've got to know where to miss the flag, if you miss the flag on the wrong side, sometimes you cannot get up and down in two, whereas if you miss on the other side you can.

"It's a very unusual golf course. There have been a lot of people who have big leads and I don't care if you're eight shots ahead with round to go, you ain't no certainty."

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