Not even a pep talk from a football legend could inspire Rory McIlroy to Masters glory
It was another day of frustration for Rory McIlroy at Augusta.
Trailing 54-hole leader Jordan Spieth by five shots entering Sunday's final round of The Masters, McIlroy knew a fast start was required.
Spieth's mini-collapse at the end of Saturday's play gave McIlroy a glimmer of hope and when he bumped into a familiar face before his tee time, a man with more experience of closing the deal than most offered some words of wisdom.
"Concentrate," Alex Ferguson urged the 26-year-old. "It's a cocoon."
Unfortunately for McIlroy, a bogey at the first and the failure to birdie the par-five second put him on the back foot, and he was never able to force his way into the mix as first Spieth, and then winner Danny Willett, stretched into the red numbers.
McIlroy eventually signed for a level-par round of 72 and a tie for 10th place, and conceded that there had once again been a "mental hurdle" preventing him from playing his best golf at Augusta.
The pressure of trying to complete golf's grand slam of major victories has been added to the scar tissue of the four-shot lead he squandered in 2011, and McIlroy admitted that pressure had held him back on the course.
"I was in a great position going into the weekend, a shot back in the final group on Saturday and I just didn't play the golf I needed to when it really mattered," he said.
"That's the thing that I take away not just from this week, but from previous Masters. I've been in position before and I haven't got the job done when I needed to and I don't think that's anything to do with my game, I think that's more me mentally and I'm trying to deal with the pressure of it and the thrill of the achievement if it were to happen. I think that's the thing that's really holding me back.
"So, the more times I can get in position to win this tournament, the more times I'll learn and I'll know what not to do. And I feel like I learned a lot yesterday reflecting on it and that's something that hopefully I'll do things differently.
"This is the one that I haven't won and this is the one I want to win more than anything else. I won a Claret Jug, I want to win more. I won a Wanamaker, I won the U.S. Open, but this is the one that I haven't.
Once I overcome that mental hurdle that I'm struggling with at the minute, then I know how to play this course, I've played this course very well before, and I can string good rounds together here, but it's just a matter of doing it."