Rory McIlroy looking ahead after Masters disappointment

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Rory McIlroy is eager to put his disappointing showing at The Masters behind him and focus on the future. The Northern Irishman is still hunting an elusive green jacket that would secure him a career grand slam and etch his name in the annuls of golf as one of the greatest to ever play. After a superlative run of form that included wins at the TOUR Championship, the CJ Cup and the Dubai Desert Classic, many believed McIlroy was primed for success at the first major of the year. Unfortunately, after rounds of 72 and 77 at the iconic Augusta National, he missed the cut.

In the aftermath, he withdrew from the RCB Heritage and gave himself a three-week break to reflect on the disappointment of the last two majors. At the Open Championship at St Andrews last year, McIlroy was wielding a red-hot putter and was tied for the lead going into the final round, only to slump to third. Now, in his first interview since The Masters, McIlroy told ESPN that the break was much-needed. "I think the last 12 months with everything that's went on ... it's been a big 12 months," said the 33-year-old. "I don't know if I fully like sat down to really reflect on stuff. I never really had a chance to think about The Open at St Andrews and everything that went on there. "Just a ton of different stuff, and it was nice to have three weeks to just put all that stuff in the rearview mirror and just sort of try to focus on what's ahead: three more majors, the entire golf season still to play. It was a good three weeks to sort of do all that and get refreshed and get ready for the next three months. "We obviously signed up for this designated-event series this year. I obviously knew the consequences that could come with missing one of those. It was an easy decision, but I felt like if that fine or whatever is to happen was worth that for me in order to get some things in place." Reflecting on the tournament itself, McIlroy did not mince his words.

"It sucked... it sucked," continued the world number three.

"It's not the performance I obviously thought I was going to put up, nor was it the performance I wanted. Just incredibly disappointing. But I needed some time to regroup. And focus on what's ahead." McIlroy is set to tee off at this week's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina, where he's won three times before and holds the course record.

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